Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Summer Boys, by Hailey Abbott

Summer Boys, by Hailey Abbott. New York: Scholastic, 2004. ISBN-10: 0439540208. ISBN-13: 978-0439540209.  224 p.

Plot Summary
The Tuttle family spends every summer at Pebble Beach. Ella is looking for her next romantic conquest, and finds him--but he's her sister's boyfriend. Jamie is excited to see Ethan--they hooked up last year, and write each other all year. But he doesn't seem excited to see her....Beth is falling for her best friend George, but worries about how this will affect their friendship. All three cousins learn a lot about themselves as they navigate their summer romances.

Critical Evaluation
This novel consists of three storylines that are connected only tangentially, through the fact that the three main protagonists are all cousins. While it could be argued that the novel's structure is a commentary on the sense of isolation we all may feel or have felt in relationships--the feeling that our situations are unique and no one else has ever felt the way we do--in this instance, it feels more like laziness on the part of the author, a sense that she didn't bother to properly flesh out all her characters. While I really enjoyed the Beth and George plotline, I felt that the other two were just caricatures of a teen vixen and a recent dumpee. I can see how this would appeal to teens, especially those looking for a fluffy beach read, but it left me cold.

Reader’s Annotation
Jamie, Ella, and Beth are cousins who visit Pebble Beach each summer. Can each of them deal with the happiness, jealousy, and sadness that come from their summer romances?

Author Information
Hailey Abbott grew up in Southern California, where she spent her time either writing or playing on the beach. She now lives in New York City.

Some of Abbott's published books include Getting Lost with Boys, The Secrets of Boys, The Perfect Boy, Waking Up to Boys, The Forbidden Boy, and The Other Boy well as the Summer Boys books and The Bridesmaid (list from Harper Collins Publishers).

Chick lit.

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
-Jamie's sense of confusion when Ethan blows her off.
-Ella's physical attraction to Peter.
-The scene when Beth first realizes she loves George.

Reading Level/Interest Age
High school.

Challenge Issues
Some teen sexual situations, underage drinking. Mostly innocuous.

Challenge Defense
Be familiar with your teens before recommending this one. Suitable for struggling readers looking for a fun read.


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