Summer Sisters

Summer Sisters

by Judy Blume


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In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changes forever when Caitlin Somers chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomes Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, an enchanting place where the two friends become “summer sisters.”
Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin begs Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—because she wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart.
Praise for Summer Sisters
“Compulsively readable . . . [Blume’s] powers are prodigious.”The New York Times Book Review
“As warm as a summer breeze blowing through your hair, as nostalgic as James Taylor singing ‘How Sweet It Is.’ You remember. So does Judy Blume. How sweet it was.”Chicago Tribune
“An exceptionally moving story that can leave the reader laughing and crying . . . sometimes at the same time . . . Blume creates a rich tapestry of characters.”The Denver Post
“Blume’s characters still tend to hover after the book is set aside. . . . She catches perfectly the well-armored love between longtime female friends.”The Seattle Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385337663
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/27/2003
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 120,963
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors. She has written books for all ages. Her twenty-nine titles include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever; Wifey; and, most recently, In the Unlikely Event. Her books have sold more than eighty-five million copies in thirty-two languages. She lives in Key West, Florida, with her husband, George Cooper.


New York's Upper East Side, Key West, and Martha's Vineyard

Date of Birth:

February 12, 1938

Place of Birth:

Elizabeth, New Jersey


B.S. in education, New York University, 1961

Read an Excerpt

Summer 1990

The city is broiling in an early summer heat wave and for the third day in a row Victoria buys a salad from the Korean market around the corner and has lunch at her desk. Her roommate, Maia, tells her she's risking her life eating from a salad bar. If the bacteria don't get you, the preservatives will. Victoria considers this as she chomps on a carrot and scribbles notes to herself on an upcoming meeting with a client who's looking for a PR firm with an edge. Everyone wants edge these days. You tell them it's edgy, they love it.

When the phone rings she grabs it, expecting a call from the segment producer at Regis and Kathie Lee. "This is Victoria Leonard," she says, sounding solid and professional.


She's surprised to hear Caitlin's voice on the other end and worries for a minute it's bad news, because Caitlin calls only at night, usually late, often waking her from a deep sleep. Besides, it's been a couple of months since they've talked at all.

"You have to come up," Caitlin says. She's using her breathy princess voice, the one she's picked up in Europe, halfway between Jackie O's and Princess Di's. "I'm getting married at Lamb's house on the Vineyard."


"Yes. And you have to be my Maid of Honor. It's only appropriate, don't you think?"

"I guess that depends on who you're marrying."

"Bru," Caitlin answers, and suddenly she sounds like herself again. "I'm marrying Bru. I thought you knew."

Victoria forces herself to swallow, to breathe, but she feels clammy and weak anyway. She grabs the cold can of Diet Coke from the corner of her desk and holds it against her forehead, then moves it to her neck, as she jots down the date and time of the wedding. She doodles all around it while Caitlin chats, until the whole page is filled with arrows, crescent moons, and triangles, as if she's back in sixth grade.

"Vix?"  Caitlin says. "Are you still there?  Do we have a bad connection or what?"

"No, it's okay."

"So you'll come?"

"Yes."  The second she hangs up she makes a mad dash for the women's room where she pukes her guts out in the stall. She has to call Caitlin back, tell her there's no way she can do this. What can Caitlin be thinking?  What was she thinking when she agreed?

Four weeks later Caitlin, her hair flying in the wind, meets Victoria at the tiny Vineyard airport. Victoria is the last one to step out of the commuter from LaGuardia. She'd spotted Caitlin from her window as soon as they'd landed but felt glued to her seat. It's been more than two years since they've seen each other, and three since Victoria graduated from college and got caught up in real life—a job, with just two weeks vacation a year. No money to fly around. Bummer, as Lamb would say when they were kids.

"Going on to Nantucket with us?"  the flight attendant asks and suddenly Victoria realizes she's the only passenger still on the plane. Embarrassed, she grabs her bag and hustles down the steps onto the tarmac. Caitlin finds her in the crowd and waves frantically. Victoria heads toward her, shaking her head because Caitlin is wearing a T-shirt that says simplify, simplify, simplify. She's barefoot as usual and Victoria is betting her feet will be as dirty as they were that first summer.

Caitlin holds her at arm's length for a minute. "God, Vix . . ."  she says, "you look so . . . grown up!"  They both laugh, then Caitlin hugs her. She smells of seawater, suntan lotion, and something else. Victoria closes her eyes, breathing in the familiar scent, and for a moment it's as if they've never been apart. They're still Vixen and Cassandra, summer sisters forever. The rest is a mistake, a crazy joke.

Reading Group Guide

1. Do you see more of your personality in the character of Victoria ("Vix&") or Caitlin? Why? Do you see parallels in your relationships with your friends? Have you ever known a "Caitlin?" You might start by remembering best friends and what they've meant to you.

2. What is it about Vix that leads Caitlin to befriend her in the first place? That allows the friendship to flourish? What does Vix get from her friendship with Caitlin? What does Caitlin get from Vix? And what do each of them give?

What do you see as the source of the lasting bond between Vix and Cailtin? Why and how do they remain so close even as they grow apart and lead different lives? How do their expectations of each other change? Do you see similarities in your own long-term friendships? In what ways have they changed over time?

4. After Caitlin talks to Vix about Phoebe, Vix thinks, "You weren't always born to the right parents. And parents didn't necessarily get the kids they were meant to raise" (p. 98). Do you think Vix was thinking of her own parents, or Caitlin's? What does this say about how she feels about both sets of parents? Do you agree?

5. How did Vix's relationship with Abby and Lamb affect her relationship with her own family? How much different would her life have been if she hadn't developed such a strong bond with Caitlin's family? Would Vix have broken away from her background on her own, without her friendship with Caitlin?

6. How much do you think their respective backgrounds shaped Vix and Caitlin? Do you think their essential characters would have been the same if their situations had been reversed? How do you think each would have operated in the world under reversed circumstances?

7. Could there ever have been a future for Vix and Bru? Was their breakup inevitable? Could she have married him and still fulfilled herself? Do you see any parallels between their relationship and your own first love?

8. Why does Caitlin pursue and marry Bru? What attracts her to the idea of settling down and having a child? Is this something you think she deliberately set out to do or did it just happen?

9. How can Vix forgive Caitlin for marrying Bru? When Caitlin abandons her daughter? When she disappears from their lives? Why doesn't Vix ask more questions about Caitlin's life away from her? Do you think she should have ended the friendship because of any of these events?

10. Judy Blume uses an unusual technique in her novel, allowing readers to get into the minds of many characters, yet she never allows us inside Caitlin. Why?

11. What drew you to each character? With which characters did you most sympathize? Which did you find less sympathetic? Why?

12. Was the ending inevitable or tragic? Are you able to agree on what really happened? How do you feel about the ambiguity of the ending?

12. Was the ending inevitable or tragic? Are you able to agree on what really happened? How do you feel about the ambiguity of the ending?

Customer Reviews

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Summer Sisters 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 500 reviews.
BANCHEE_READS More than 1 year ago
This book has, and always will be, one of my all-time favorites! For any woman who has expirienced the ups and downs of growing up female and just trying to find your place in this world. I adored both Vix and Caitlin and found myself struggling to choose which one I identified with. Am I the smart and serious Vix or the spontaneous care-free Caitlin? I finally realized that parts of both of them are inside of me as most of us have found from time to time. From their first sexual encounters to picking husbands, Vix and Caitlin take you along with them as they venture through life. This book is not supposed to have a plot or a real climax. It is realistic story about friendship, love, and growing up. A must-read for anyone who has been blessed to know the true ups and downs of friendship....and in the end, the importance of sisterhood.
sarahlr802 More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book. I have read this book too many times to count and always recommend it to my friends. I think this book should be made into a movie...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Summer Sisters is a book that takes place in the late 1970¿s and early 1980¿s. It¿s a course of over six summers. The two main characters in the book are Victoria Leonard and Caitlin Somers. The book starts off with Victoria working in New York City at her job when she receives phone call from her long lost best friend Caitlin. The phone call consists Caitlin telling Victoria about her wedding and asking her to be her maid of honor. The story then goes into a flash back to where Caitlin and Victoria first meet. It was late spring in 1977 when Caitlin approached ¿Vix¿ in their 6th grade class. Caitlin was the new girl, and Vix was the shy quiet girl. Caitlin bluntly asks Vix to spend the summer with her and her father down in Martha¿s Vineyard. Caitlin immediately jumped to the offer. The girls started their first summer together getting to know each other. The rest of the summer consists of the two girls having their summer crushes and the summer stories that are not to be spoken of. Over the course of the summer the girls pledge to be summer sisters for life. Years pass and the girls continue to spend each and every summer together. The girls continue their friendship even through college where Vix has a boyfriend from the Vineyard. Years pass and their friendship begins to fade, until the day Vix receives the phone from Caitlin¿.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book several times great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorites. I try to read it atleast once a year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best feature of the novel was the contrast between the 2 summer sisters, Vix & Caitlan. Their adventures however were basically centered around boys & sex. I would have liked them to have had other sincere interests to add to their characters and make them more worthy of all the attention the author lavishes on them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could have cried at the end of this book. Truly this book is really something, not predictable at all and I'm a reader of 100's of books, all of your emotions come into play during this book, wonderfully written, edited, etc. I really liked this book very much. I haven't read Judy Blume before but will look for more of her Adult books. jsb 8/2017
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On the back if the book it seems funny ,but also real i cant wait to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book! I have read it every summer for the past 10 years. It's my tradition of kicking off summer. This has every element of a fantastic read. I laugh, I cry, I finish the book within a day's time. Once I start reading this book, I cant stop until I reach the last page. I hight recommend this book. Contains slight mature content.
PennyX3 More than 1 year ago
Excellent summer read for any girl or woman. I first read this book on the beach about 14 years ago. I have read it every summer since. It is a story of friendship, love, and growth. Any female should be able to relate to this book in some way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Summer Sisters reminds you of that childhood friend you will never forget. I must admit this is one of my all time favorite books I read it atleast once a year and hope that maybe one day they can make this into a movie...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I reccomend this book. I didn't think i would like it but i did and i read it a lot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. I felt like I was there. I couldn't put it down.
dawniek More than 1 year ago
I have all ways loved Judy Blume books. I grew up on them from Fudge and Peter who always made us laugh. As I got older her others I couldn't put down. I read this one this summer and I really didn't find my self lost in this book, like her others. It was a good book, but one I could put down after reading for a few hrs. I do recommend this book but it was not my favorite by Judy at all.
vix1 More than 1 year ago
This books starts off with two girls(vix and Cailtain) who become Summer Sisters. This is full of exictment and true feelings of true frienda who share just about everything. I too read so many books by Judy Blume as a younger girl. when I was in school someone got into a lot of trouble bringing this book in to class. I belive it was 7th grade. I saw this books at Sam's Club and just remembered this was the book. I just had to buy it. I love Judy Blume. I have to say this book suprised me towards the end. I did cry at the end. I loved both Caitlain and Vix so much. I was like Vix in some many ways. When you find a friendship like this, cherish it. So many people come into our hearts. I was always told that friends come in for a season and for a reason. so hold onto that friendship like they did. It is so important and to have a special friend who you can share things with, that you can not with anyone else. thank you judy for writing this book. It truly is one of my favorites as an adult. Loved Superfuge.....
R Myers More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!
Megan Welihan More than 1 year ago
judy blume is a fantastic author. i read this book at least once a year and it never gets old.
MaddieLynn More than 1 year ago
I grew up reading Judy Blume so I looked up some of her young adult/adult books. This book was a bittersweet read for me..... it reminded me of me and my best friend, and brought me back to the fun but emotional careless days of teenage-dom.
bibliomaniac44 More than 1 year ago
This book has been a favorite since I was in the 8th grade. My best friend and I happened to stumble upon it and instantly fell in love. It's one of those books you can pick up and read again and again because it brings you back to that innocence and discovery you had when you were a child. This is a story of two incredible girls brought together to be friends for life. It's a story of summers, love, jealously, self-discovery, and most of all that everlasting friendship you will never be without. Here I am almost a decade later reading this book, enjoying the ride yet again. Feeling as if Vix and Caitlin both have found their way of showing through me. This is a book for all ages and you can enjoy it for years and years to come. This story is a perfect example of how okay it is to be different. Whenever I think of this book there is one line that often repeats in my mind. "NBO or die". :)
Madid12 More than 1 year ago
When I was younger I thought that I was Judy Blume's biggest fan. I read all of her most famous books and was sad when the day came that I finally realized I was getting to old for her works. You can imagine my complete joy when my friend recommended that I read this book by her, which as she promised was definitely for an older audience. Within the first pages it was like I was a ten years old again already immersed in the words of Blume. Her writing is enticing and leaves you not wanting to put the book down for even a second. The book revolves around the summers spent by two best friends as they grow up and mature at the beach. Blume's writing is so believable that I felt as if I was reading an actual biography of these two crazy girls. You get to know the girls as they grow from being in Junior High running around caring about nothing more than their friendships and the insane adventures they can have. As they get older you get to follow them as their friendship is tested and strengthened by high school boyfriends and busy summer jobs. Blue keeps her book going past high school and college until it comes time for marriage and babies. I must warn you though this book WILL keep you wanting more. I finished my last pages in tears praying that there was a sequel, which sadly Blume has yet to provide. This book was amazing and so much fun. After I read it I wanted to quit my life and pick up and move to the beach for the summer. It was so inspiring and I was incredibly jealous of all the fun times the girls had. I would recommend this book to anyone who even remotely likes reading. I have yet to come across anyone who didn't like it.
GabGirl1 More than 1 year ago
If you love ficton, drama, and romance... this is a great book to read! I have loved Judy Blume since grade school, and now her adult books are awesome! Its great in very aspect! I definitely recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Summer Sisters was the first Judy Blume book I ever read. I expected a little cute story with two girls hanging out together during the summer. To my surprise it held more depth than that. It talks about the different challenges and surprises Vix and Kaitlin go through, whether its boys, family, or life in itself. . It was a true coming of age story. Summer sisters can make you laugh, joyful, and shed an occasional tear.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG! This book is amazing. I was always grounded to my room, so all i had to do was read, and read, and read. But what an experiance it became. i read this book ffor the first time whin i was 12 and i have read it 4 more times sincce then. i never get sick of the two women and their struggles to fit in with the other one. I think its very exciting, i could not put the book down, its a medium sixe book but it only look me leik, 3days to read. An amazing read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 14 and I read at a college level. My cousin recommended this book to me. It's very hard to find a book I enjoy. Well, to my suprise, I checked this book out on a Thursday and finished Friday night. I just couldn't put it down. Judy Blume is a VERY talented writer and I enjoy all of her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the minute I picked up Summer Sisters i could't put it down. It brought back memories of myself and my best friend that really made me connect with the characters.Any woman who has every had a true best friend can relate to this tale of two young girls growing up quickly in a rough world.