The August 2023 Read With Jenna pick celebrates the love of female friendship – and the book’s 25th anniversary!
For her August 2023 pick, Jenna Bush Hager reached for a classic novel, which remains as relevant and moving as it did when it was first published 25 years ago,
Jenna Bush Hager says there’s too many ways to count the reasons why she loves “Summer Sisters” by Judy Blume. Known for her ground-breaking children's books like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” this was Blume’s adult debut.
“It's about that time in your life where you're trying to figure out who you're going to be,” Jenna says. “It is the perfect, perfect beach read but that doesn't mean that it's an easy read. It's a beautiful read and it will make you think about growing up and that friend of yours who you adored, but maybe didn't know if they were good for you.”
“Summer Sisters” was first published in 1998, and the August 2023 pick features a beautiful new cover, as well as the Read With Jenna seal.
In the book, Victoria “Vix” Leonard’s life changes when Caitlin Somers, a charismatic classmate at her Santa Fe school, chooses her as a best friend. Vix spends summers in Martha’s Vineyard with Caitlin’s family, who become like her own — but not quite. As they grow up and their paths diverge, Vix remains somewhat painfully tied to her “summer sister.” That tie is pulled when Caitlin summons her back to Martha’s Vineyard for her wedding.
“It is about Peter Pan syndrome. And it's also about who raises us and how they raise us. It has a love triangle or two. You will fall in love,” Jenna says.
Jenna says now is the time to read, or reread, Blume’s classic. If you want the perfect summer read and you've read ‘Summer Sisters, reread it. If you haven't read it, I don't know what you're waiting for. You've wasted 25 years,” Jenna jokes.
Blume, author of dozens of classic children and young adult novels, is one of Jenna’s favorite writers. Jenna and Blume recently met ahead of the release of the film adaptation of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
“Meeting Judy Blume is like meeting the queen,” Jenna says. “She is the queen for me, and for so many women. She is an incredible advocate for books. She has written some of the best books for kids and young adults, but (“Summer Sisters”) is her adult novel. And I think it's her best.”
Jenna urges readers who are wanting to feel like they’re on vacation to check out “Summer Sisters.”
“Read it with us. You will probably read it in a couple of days,” she says. “But if you're going anywhere on vacation, even if you're not going on vacation … it will remind you of being on the beach so take a little book vacation with us.”
Jenna adds, “Summer reading is the state of mind. All you need is a book, an umbrella if you choose, and that's all.”