All the Summer Girls tells the story of three friends whose lives, and friendships, were forever changed on a fateful night in the beach town of Avalon, New Jersey. Seven years later, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani, now twenty-nine years old, return to the island for the first time since that pivotal summer and find themselves doing all sorts of surprising things—not the least of which is finally being honest with one another about the events of that long-ago night, and the direction their lives have taken since.
Like the protagonists of All the Summer Girls, I grew up in Philadelphia and spent time every summer in Avalon. I was compelled, in part, to write this story because I now live in San Francisco, a city with epically foggy summers, and I miss the sticky-hot beach vacations of my youth. So I immersed myself in my memories of Avalon for this book—recalling the flutter of excitement I felt when I drove onto the island, the feel of a sun-warmed wood deck below my feet, the pleasure of pedaling beach cruiser down a sand swept street, the groggy, vulnerable feeling of awakening from an afternoon beach nap, the bugs that descend at dusk, the vast canopy of stars at night.
I hope that for readers, All the Summer Girls story will trigger memories of summers past and those special places that seem to possess the power to enchant. Some questions I could envision book clubs discussing include:
Is there a particular season that makes your thoughts turn to the past? Why?
Do you still get excited for summer? If so, why? Is there something about summer that makes this season more magical than the others? Do you have a particular place that holds special memories from childhood? How does it feel to return there as an adult? How have your feelings for the place changed over time?
Do you think emails, texts, and social media help friends stay in touch? Or do they make it easier to not reveal our selves fully to one another?
For Kate, Vanessa, and Dani, it takes a weekend spent together at the beach, away from the responsibilities of their day-to-day lives, to reconnect. Do you think it’s important to make time for these types of getaways with friends? If so, why?
Thanks for letting me introduce you to All the Summer Girls. Happy Summer! Here’s hoping that a good book, a light breeze, and a quiet stretch of warm, golden sand awaits you.
To read more about the ways I mined my own experiences and memories while writing All the Summer Girls, click here.