Title: All the Summer Girls
Author: Meg Donohue
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Beach Read, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Kate’s fiancé breaks up with her three months before their wedding, she’s bereft. He claims she’s never gotten over her twin brother’s death, and while Kate asserts she’s past Colin’s death, deep down, she knows he’s right. When Kate’s childhood friend, Dani, suggests that she, Kate, and Vanessa, their other mutual friend, take a trip to the beach together, what none of them realize is that old hurts and secrets will surface that will leave all of them changed.
All the Summer Girls is a beachy summer read starring three very different young women. Ever since her twin brother’s death years ago, Kate has become a control freak. She gets through each and every day by compulsively planning everything. It’s an understandable coping mechanism, especially since it’s clear there are realities about Colin’s death she’s never faced. Kate is definitely the most sympathetic of the three young women; she’s so lost, and readers will sympathize with that.
Indeed, all three women are keeping secrets about Colin’s death in All the Summer Girls. This tragic event looms large over the novel; though it happened years ago, each of these women has been living with it every day. While Colin’s death is understandably sad, it’s difficult for the reader to really feel any sorrow over it. The reader only sees glimpses of Colin through the flashbacks the author provides, and he’s not exactly presented in the best light. Still, Donohue keeps the pace of the novel moving steadily, and readers will enjoy this small peek into their world.
While Donohue does write all three of the main characters in All the Summer Girls realistically, I had trouble emotionally connecting to them. They seemed a bit selfish and immature; that being said, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the novel. The point is that all three of these women have been stuck in the past, and as a result, they’ve been unable to fully grow up and heal. It’s gratifying to watch each of them come to terms with their pasts, to accept responsibility for what they’ve done but also recognize that sometimes, you don’t have any control over what happens in life.