September Girls by Bennett Madison
When Sam's dad whisks him off to the beach for the summer, it doesn't take him long to realize this sleepy vacation town isn't what it seems. Time slows down around here, cell phones don't work, and everywhere Sam looks, he sees strange, beautiful girls. Girls who are inexplicably drawn to him.
As Sam begins to unravel the mystery of the Girls and their beach, he's forced to question everything he thought he knew about love, growing up, and becoming a man.
September Girls was a bit of a roller coaster ride - not emotionally, but in terms of how much I liked it. Some parts of the book were written almost lyrically, while other parts were more of a ramble. There were a few parts where Madison was clearly shooting for philosophical but didn't quite get there. Other parts were a bit more crude (there is a lot of talk about dicks/boobs/asses, and a lot of importance is placed on sex). Sam is especially guilty of that; case in point being this quote: "The moral of the story is that if you're ever offered anything that seems like it might lead to sex, there is no turning back. You just have to take it as it comes or you will remain a virgin for life." (page 123).
I have really mixed feelings about the Girls. They were mysterious and lovely and intricate, but they were also incredibly confusing. Madison didn't include much of a backstory for them; just enough for readers to gain a basic understanding. The Girls were an original twist on mermaids/sirens and they were fascinating, so I'm a little disappointed their history wasn't explained more.
The love stories had a lot of good points. Madison took the time to develop both of them, and they were both pretty sweet. I think the romance was my favorite part of the book, actually, except for maybe the end. That bit was very good. The characters, especially the main ones, but a few side ones too, were solid. They surprised me a couple times and were pretty realistic (barring the supernatural aspects of the Girls).
I enjoyed September Girls, especially the romance and mermaids, but I didn't find it all that amazing. A good beach book, but not the best read of the summer.
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