summernakedswimparties_lead“The Summer of Naked Swim Parties” by Jessica Anya Blau (2008); 294 pages

Started reading December 15, Finished reading December 21.

OK, So I admit it- I read two young-adult (YA) fiction books in back-to-back weeks. I couldn’t help myself.  I was so excited to finish Twilight before my movie date with some girlfriends, and the same week, my good friend Shana  insisted that I read this novel ASAP. So I caved. And it wasn’t bad, although it was very, very YA. (But more on that in a minute…)

Shana lives in Baltimore and I live in Alabama, but it just so happens that she and her husband came to meet me and Josh and Ben at my parents’ house in Florida…. so since we are vacationing together right this minute, I’m going to take advantage of the situation and present my first-ever guest blogger…

RR: So Shay, how would you describe this book in two sentences?

SA: Its about a young girl’s coming-of-age, and discovering about her body, while looking at everyone else’s body. And discovering boys.

RR: Might I point out, that those other bodies were mostly her parents friends, which was kind of weird, very 1970’s, and way racier than most of the YA fiction I was reading at age 14.

SA: I recommended this book to a old lady at the Pikesville library and then cautiously told her son that it was really dirty.

RR: So did she get it?

SA: It wasn’t available but her son said “Don’t worry she can handle it.”

RR: Well, maybe she’ll get it next time. Didn’t you think these 14-year olds were having more sex than most people do in college?

SA: Yes. It makes good reading. Sex sells.

RR: I was kind of expecting chick lit by the title (which is not good- I hate it when a book has a title that makes it too embarrassing to carry around and read in public) and then from the blurbs on the back I changed my mind and thought it might actually be decent literature– but it was sort of somewhere in the middle. Definitely not trashy chick-lit, but…

SA: She intellectualizes growing up in Southern California in the 1970s.

RR: That she did. And she can write. But I found the main character to be pretty annoying at first, then the whole thing got very depressing (although incredibly true-to-life) but it really all came together at the end.

SA: I’d like to add that Jessica Anya Blau is Jewish and lives in Baltimore and teaches at Hopkins.

RR: I think we should be friends with her.

SA: Of course.

RR: I have one more problem with the book. The shoes on the cover don’t look like 1970’s shoes. Who picked out that photo?