Monday, August 23, 2010

Just a Summer Romance

Remember what I said about not having any more Ann books to recap? I lied. :) I found a copy of this one on not too long ago and finally got around to reading it!


14 year old Melanie Braderman and her family have spent summers on Fire Island for as long as she can remember. She loves it there, especially since her summertime best friend, Lacey Reeder, stays in the house next door with her family. One day, the Bradermans and Reeders are all on the beach together when Mel's little brother hits a boy about Mel's age in the face. He's okay, luckily, and he's also super cute. Mel makes Lacey stay on the beach with her until late in the afternoon, hoping to see him again, but no luck. Over the next few days, though, Mel has a few sightings, but doesn't get to talk to Mr. Dreamboat again. Then, she and Lacey get up early one morning to watch the sun rise and discover that they're not alone on the beach; Mel's dream boy is there, too. She decides that she needs to follow him and find out where he lives. Lacey's not really into the whole spying thing, but she goes with Mel until they see the boy enter a house down the beach. Mel wants to stay and watch the place, but Lacey doesn't. Mel asks her to bring back some binoculars, to make her stalking a bit easier. Lacey shows up with the binoculars a bit later, and Mel watches both the boy and his house for awhile. Then, the boy comes down to the beach and tells Mel that while she was watching him, he was watching her. Rather than being freaked out by his stalker, though, the boy is actually pretty friendly. They walk and talk until Mel's little brother comes to get her for the picnic the family is having. Mel hates to leave her new friend, especially when she remembers that she never even got his name.

Later that evening, Mel runs into the boy again, and they introduce themselves properly. His name is Justin Hart, and he asks Mel out on a real date....a fact which she immediately goes home and announces to her whole family. The date goes well; they hold hands, and it's pretty clear to Mel that Justin is actually into her. There's a bit of bad news, though: Justin has to go back to New York for a week to "finish up his work," as he says. He won't tell Mel exactly what that work is, though....very mysterious. Then, when Mel gets home from the date and wants to tell Lacey all about it, Lacey gets angry. She feels like Mel's just pushing her aside in favor of Justin, and she feels left out. They end up talking out their differences a few days later.

When Justin gets back from NYC, he and Mel continue to see each other regularly. Things are going swimmingly, until they have a conversation about the future of their relationship. The summer is almost over, and Justin doesn't think they should see each other anymore once they've left Fire Island. After all, he lives right in NYC, while Mel only visits a few times a year. They're supposed to be together until Labor Day Weekend, but unfortunately, the weather has other ideas. Everyone ends up having to leave early thanks to a big storm, and Mel and Justin are separated. :(

Part two of the book takes place back in New York. Mel is doing her best to try and get her mind off of Justin (she even makes a date with another guy), but it's not working. In fact, she keeps imagining that she sees him on the cover of magazines. Then, she discovers that it's NOT her imagination; Justin really is on the cover of all those magazines. He's an actor who's just landed a role in a new tv series, and is the new It Boy in the entertainment world. Me' can't believe it, and neither can anyone else once word gets out. Mel hates to admit that she knew nothing about Justin's career; she thinks it makes her look stupid. She wants to talk to him one more time to find out why he kept so many secrets from her during their time together, but doesn't know how to make it happen. Then during a weekend visit with Lacey in NYC, she sees an article in the paper about a benefit at Lincoln Center. It turns out that LOTS of stars will be appearing there...including Justin. Mel gets in the autograph line like she was any other fan, and when it's her turn to see Justin, she doesn't really acknowledge that she knows him. When she gets her autograph back, though, she sees that it's not an autograph at all: it's Justin's phone number. She calls him, and they talk. Justin never told her about his career because he wanted to make sure she liked him for himself, not for all the celebrity stuff. They both admit that they don't want the relationship to end, even though it'll be hard to keep it going with Justin dividing his time between CA and NYC. So...happily ever after, at least for the time being. :)

Rating: 5 (based strictly on enjoyment factor, not quality of writing or anything like that!)

Thoughts and Things
  • I really, really, really liked this book, and I wasn't expecting to. I wish I'd read it when I was younger; I would have been all over it back then!
  • The style of writing in this one is very un-AMM. You could have put another author's name on the cover and I wouldn't have thought anything of it.
  • That being said, there ARE a lot of BSC parallels. Lacey is a blond, permed, sophisticated New Yorker who wears designer clothes, and Mel loves junk food. They meet by the main information booth in the room with the painted ceilings in Grand Central Station when Mel goes into the city, and (of course) there's the whole Fire Island aspect of the story. Also, Justin's eyes are constantly being referred to as "limpid." That's the word that Pete Black used to describe Laine's eyes in Stacey's Ex-best Friend.
  • Mel is a really likeable main character. She's fun, kind of quirky, and easy to identify with. I also like that regular girl Mel was the one who was ready for boys first, not pretty, Stacey-ish Lacey.
  • Oh lord, the cover. The picture I used isn't the greatest, but trust's bad. Mel is rocking some serious Mom jeans, and Justin's face and hair are just WRONG. Gotta love the 80s!

So...the bad news is, I think this might be it for this particular blog project. Fall semester starts for me today, and I don't think I'm going to have much time for any serious blogging in the near future. The GOOD news is that I have an idea for another blog project that won't require so many long recaps, and might be easier to keep up with while school is going on. I'll keep everyone posted!


  1. I didn't think I'd read this book, but reading your summary I'm pretty sure I did! I remember my mom getting upset when she saw what looked like a "romance novel" in my room, until I pointed out that it was written by the same woman who wrote the BSC. At the time I thought she was overreacting, but probably only because I was 10 and had no idea what *real* romance novels were like. I wouldn't want my ten year old reading them, either!

    I don't know why Ann is so obsessed with family vacations on Fire Island. I know several people who have gone there... All gay men. According to Wikipedia this is pretty standard. I don't doubt that there are other demographics around, it just seems weird to me that Ann is always sending her families there on vacation and never acknowledges that 90% of the people around are gay.

  2. God, I'd totally forgotten about this Ann M. book until now. I know I read it, but I must have gotten it from the library because I didn't read is 1,000,000's of times like all other Ann M. books.

    Also, I totally agree with anonymous. Fire Island is definitely known for the gay men. You could say it's because Ann herself is gay. But really, Fire Island is known as the vacay spot for gay MEN, not lesbians so much.

  3. I love how Ann M. always mentions Fire Island, though. Does she secretly party it up at the gay nightclubs on the weekend? Oh, who are we kidding. The closest Ann M. gets to the gay life is writing her Rum Tum Tugger/Mr. Mistofelees slash fanfic.

  4. I really like these non-BSC recaps, too, because I never read these. I do hope you continue writing something. It's fun to read your work!

    Oh, Sadako, about sister-in-law read on Wikipedia that Ann M. Martin has a cat named Woody, which, along with talk of her being lesbian, prompted my husband to comment, "She has a pussy named Woody?"

  5. If you need to work on your Ann M. collection, I can send you my copy of With You and Without You. I might have Inside Out, but I'm unsure. If you want that, just shoot me an email

    Also, if you're interested, I have the Ann M. Martin biography.

  6. Oh yeah! And I have Missing Since Monday!

  7. BSC AG, that's all kinds of a good way.

  8. Limpid pools! Ah - I totally remember that. Possibly the same book where Laine snootily decided that "sixth graders have no muscle control". Never read this one, might have to do an ebay job.

  9. AMM wrote the bogs A Dogs Life and Everything for Dog, too.

  10. Hi there! I don't know if you still get notifications for this blog, but I would like to let you know that I am reading your BSC entries regularly because I'm listening to the Baby Sitter's Club Club podcast and your posts are excellent refreshers. I think you'd enjoy this podcast very much. Two grown men in their 30s read and discuss the BSC books on a weekly basis. It's all you ever needed in a podcast and so much more!

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