Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue

Reviewed by Kristin

The library displays are bursting with beach books this month.  Fitting right in with that theme is All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue.  Three childhood friends, Kate, Vanessa and Dani, are reunited as each of them is going through changes in their adult lives.  At Dani’s father’s house at Avalon beach, the women discover new things about themselves and the past difficult times they faced together.

Kate is living in Philadelphia and has just found out she is pregnant at almost the exact same instant that her fiancé breaks up with her.  Bad timing?  Clichéd chick lit?  Maybe both, but Kate has many more layers to be explored in the rest of the story.

Vanessa is a full time married mother in New York City, loving being with two-year-old Lucy, but starting to miss her career more than she thinks she should.  Feeling strains in her marriage and chatting with an old boyfriend, Vanessa is also questioning her status quo.

Dani is the wild child, working in a bookstore in San Francisco while trying to write the novel that has been in progress for several years.  After being fired from twelve jobs in seven years (the last one on her birthday), Dani is at the end of her rope and is afraid that her only option is to go home to live with her father.

The missing character in this story is Colin, Kate’s twin brother who died eight years before while they were all at Avalon beach.  Dani and Vanessa also had strong connections to Colin.  These bonds are revealed as the story unfolds and secrets come to light.  As the three friends discover truths about the night Colin died, their friendship is almost torn apart.

This is a great book for vacation reading.  Even though I prefer mysteries, I enjoyed this light read.  Somewhat predictable, the author still throws in a few twists to keep things interesting.  There are several other peripheral characters: friends, family and acquaintances; but the real story revolves around Dani, Kate, Vanessa, and Colin.

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