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3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Spending the summer of 1928 in a big house on the Maine coast with his 10 older cousins and a gaggle of aunts and uncles seems like a dream come true to lonely 13-year-old Richard.

But as he wanders through the bustling house, Richard witnesses scenes and conversations not meant for him and watches as the family he adores disintegrates into a tangle of lust, jealousy, and b
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2013)
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Jaclyn Day
Oct 30, 2013 Jaclyn Day rated it really liked it
This felt like a close cousin (no pun intended) to Rules of Civility, but other than the obvious similarities—the cover art, the time periods, one big twist that I won’t reveal—it also had the same slow-burning (but intriguing!) plot and pacing.

Shorecliff is the name of a summer home in Maine, and in 1928, our 13-year-old narrator (Richard) travels there with his mother to spend the summer months with his aunts, uncles and 10 cousins.

Most of the book is about the family members and their inter
Nov 02, 2013 Chelsea rated it it was ok
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

Honestly, I didn't really enjoy this much. I've this out from the library for what seems like forever, because I just couldn't get into it. It has something to do with the plot, something to do with the characters, and something to do with the writing style, which all combines to just make you go "bleh."

First, there are the characters. The narrator, Richard Killing II, is a grown man talking about a summer he spent at his family's house
Sonia Reppe
Jun 22, 2013 Sonia Reppe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-of-age, 5stars
"My cousins had served before that summer as vague mythical figures to idolize, and their allure was infinitely more powerful after three months of living with them."

"The summer when I was thirteen years old changed everything for me..."

Richard is the youngest of 11 cousins among his mother's extended family at Shorecliff (Maine) in the summer of 1928. With a child's enthusiasm, he relishes his older cousin's company, and observes their jealousies, rivalries, troublemaking, scandals, friendships
Sep 19, 2013 Jill rated it liked it
This book really tried my patience. It's a well-crafted story that will all solidify by the final chapter. However, in the interim you have to keep 11 cousins very close in age and 9 aunts and uncles straight in a summer house in Maine in 1928. I had to Xerox the family tree on the first page to help me attempt to keep everybody straight but I had a hard time nonetheless. The story is slow and told from the perspective of 13 yr. old Richard. By taking his point of view, I had to realize that his ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Aidan rated it really liked it
There was something about this book that felt familiar, and comforting, nearly until the end, when things take a turn for the worse among the Hatfield cousins. Maybe it's because I have a large extended family, and because when I was younger I always yearned to spend an entire summer with my cousins. In any case, this is a story of family tragedy that has left me feeling beautifully haunted.
Joann Garrido
Aug 27, 2014 Joann Garrido rated it really liked it
Would give it 4.5 stars if I could. Really enjoyed this book!
Stephanie Anderson
Mar 04, 2017 Stephanie Anderson rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, owned
Tried and tried and tried but just couldn't get into this book...the author spent too much time on useless detail instead of keeping you interested in the story...still not sure what the story line even was.
Aug 13, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
This story was close to a 5 for me. Its overall effect had me wrapped up in a nostalgic haze, and every so often I would put the book down just to lose myself in daydreams of Shorecliff or various tangents within the storyscape.

It’s a great portrait of what happens when you have a family, predominantly made up of a large group of teenagers, together in the middle of nowhere for a summer. Lusts, feuds, friendships, and general shenanigans ensue that may seem petty to an outsider, but take on sign
Diane S ☔
Jul 24, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
3.5 Loved the opening line of this book,"The summer when I was thirteen years old changed everything for me." This was the summer that he and his mother traveled to the family home "Shorecliff" to spend the summer with his aunts, various uncles and eleven assorted cousins. It was the first time they had all spent this much time together, in the summer house. It was a summer where secrets were revealed, memories good and bad were made, and a summer that started with happiness but would end in tra ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Christie rated it liked it
I was lucky enough to win an advance copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway!

Shorecliff is the story of a boy who goes to stay with his extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles) for the summer and grows up a lot in the process. I guess you could say it's a coming-of-age tale.

This is an enjoyable book. It's interesting to read about the interactions between family members, and what happens when people are stuck in a house together for a whole summer with “nothing to do.” I enjoyed reading along
Sep 23, 2013 Kelly rated it liked it
A coming of age story about 11 cousins and their mothers and some of their fathers as they vacation at Shorecliff for the summer. They are far out of town, with only each other to amuse one another. It would have been a good book if the characters were portrayed realistically for their age. Richard,the storyteller of this novel, shares the position of youngest cousin with Pamela, both 13 yrs old. The author writes about Richard and Pamela as though they are children, more like 10 not teens. Rich ...more
May 10, 2013 Samantha rated it did not like it
Shelves: to-read-in-2013
This is the story of a dozen random cousins who spend an incredibly boring summer together at their family's home. I wish I could say something more about the book, but that's all I've got. Yes, tragedy happens. Yes, there are weird family politics and relationships. Yes, there are a million of the most dull, unexciting characters ever (seriously, I would have traded at least 8 of the cousins for three solid interesting characters). No, it doesn't get much better than that.

You know how sometime
Carol Ann Jellison
Jan 14, 2014 Carol Ann Jellison rated it really liked it
In the summer of 1928, 13 year old Richard is very excited to spend the summer with his crowd of older cousins, aunts, and uncles in a huge vacation house on the coast of Maine. He is a lonely only child and wants badly to be a part of everything that is going on. But as the youngest he is often left out of activities and especially conversations. He has become very adept at eavesdropping and tries to use his ill-gotten information as a way into the cousins' inner circle. He also has a very acti ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Beverly rated it it was ok
Spending the summer of 1928 in a big house on the Maine coast with his 10 older cousins and a gaggle of aunts and uncles seems like a dream come true to lonely 13-year-old Richard.

But as he wanders through the bustling house, Richard witnesses scenes and conversations not meant for him and watches as the family he adores disintegrates into a tangle of lust, jealousy, and betrayal. At first only an avid spectator, Richard soon finds himself drawn into the confusion, battling with his first experi
Carol Maloney
Aug 31, 2013 Carol Maloney rated it it was ok
I'm peeved. I read this book because I was given the false hope that something seismic would happen. I had to believe that it was more than the everyday events of some overprivileged, middle-class white folk at their summer retreat during the 1920s that made the Famous Five adventures look like Mission Impossible. I had to keep reminding myself that the story was taking place in New England and not Great Britain. All DeYoung needed to do was pepper the narrative with "jeepers", "blast" and "crik ...more
Sep 07, 2013 Crystal rated it liked it
The author did a great job with setting. I really got a feel for the old summer house and the grounds, including the beach and the cliffs. She used the setting to suggest a foreboding that didn't go along very well with the final scenes in the book. The story was populated by a large cast, with many if the characters falling in the same as range. I admit I had trouble keeping them all straight. What she did wonderfully was capture the relationships between cousins in a large family. The narrator ...more
Terry Adkins
Jun 09, 2013 Terry Adkins rated it it was amazing
Set against the backdrop of the 1920's, Ursula DeYoung's protagonist and narrator, Richard Killing, reflects on the summer that changed not only his life but his family's.
Richard spends his summer surrounded by his large extended family in their long-forgotten mansion off the coast of Maine. A notorious eavesdropper, Richard soon learns that the family the he considers so highly is tangled in a web of lust, jealousy, and betrayal.
DeYoung explores the dangerous dynamics that hold a family togethe
Jun 07, 2013 Sue rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The characters are wonderful, I love that the story is told from Richard's, age 13, perspective and I especially enjoyed all the twists and turns the story took; however, it didn't really feel like a true historical fiction piece to me, it needed more historical context instead of just a mention now and again of things that were happening to this family in New England in the 20's to remind us it happened back then. The end summarizations made by Richard do help but I still can't shake wanting mo ...more
Connie Mayo
Mar 23, 2015 Connie Mayo rated it it was amazing
So many good things to say about this book. The writing is just damn excellent, and my heart went out to Richard, the 13 year old narrator. The whole vibe of the large-family-in-the-old-summer-house was just thoroughly enjoyable for me - coming from an extremely small family, I always longed for a gaggle of cousins. At first it was a bit hard to keep track of all the characters, but this is a necessary situation when the large size of this extended family is integral to the story. I didn't want ...more
Jun 24, 2016 Tynesha rated it really liked it
Fine and decent story about how a group of extended families (seem attached at first) staying in a summer house along the shores of Maine see relationships change amongst each other in a perspective of a teenage kid. Kind of written in a theatrical style -- kind of different compared to the more straightforward historical fiction and coming-of-age genres. Not really fond on the conflict and drama aesthetic; the overuse of foreshadowing somewhat ruins the suspense of the conflicts. I actually lik ...more
Leah Iannone
Sep 03, 2013 Leah Iannone rated it it was ok
2 1/2....I wanted to like this so badly. There were so many characters that I had to make a chart because I couldn't keep them straight. I loved the idea of the plot line--huge family gathered at their shore house, tons of cousins, coming of age story. It was just too slow with not enough character development. While the characters had so much potential to be amazing, the author didn't dedicate enough time to allowing the reader to get to know them, so it was hard to distinguish some of them fro ...more
Michele Whitecotton
Aug 30, 2013 Michele Whitecotton rated it it was ok
I gave this book 2 stars instead of 1 because I liked the authors writing style, I just didn't like the story. Character development was great but there were too many characters to keep track of. I knew they were all cousins but couldn't keep the siblings straight and I couldn't remember which children belonged to which aunt. Other than that, this was one if the most boring stories I ever read. The synopsis promised secrets and betrayal but I thought it was mostly boring. The secrets weren't all ...more
Aug 23, 2013 Jehg rated it liked it
This is a sweet coming of age novel, not the gripping story of familial secrets that the book jacket describes. I wasn't happy about the ending, as narrated by the then adult reflecting on the summer when he was 13. Other than the fact that the narrator assumes total responsibility for what happened when he was only 13, I enjoyed his observations and eavesdroppings of his cousins and aunts and uncles.
Donna-Jo Webster
Multi-generational New England family spends the summer of 1928 living in their ancestral, sprawling beach home on the Maine coast. Gossiping aunts, secretive uncles, and ten kids ranging in age from ten to twenty-one learn to live, love, and lie together, until a final, terrible deceit mars their entire summer - and haunts them the rest of their lives. Quick read (great for the beach!) and a lyrical debut novel.
May 11, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway (a fact I am required to disclose) and am delighted that I did! I fell in love with Richard and frequently laughed out loud as he attempted to find his standing among the cousins. Congratulations to Ms. DeYoung for a beautifully written debut novel that was rich in character development and storyline. I look forward to reading more from her!
May 07, 2014 Rose rated it it was ok
After 300 (+/-) pages of introducing and eluding to the terrible thing that would rip the family apart, I know longer cared what happened to the characters, I just wanted my time back. When the terrible thing was revealed I thought what happened after would make a compelling story. Unfortunately the author ended where she should have begun and the final book is a long winded, meandering introduction to a story the reader is left to write on their own.
Oct 16, 2013 Linda rated it liked it
An interesting family story: 11 cousins and some of their parents spend a summer at the family home in rural Maine in the 20's. Told from the point of view off the youngest cousin, 13-year - old Richard, who I think overestimates his role in the summer's troubles.Pretty good, but after three "novels" I need to get back to a Brit police procedural.
Michelle King
Sep 12, 2013 Michelle King rated it really liked it
A good summer read with interesting characters and some plot lines. Parts of the book were repetitive though and it should have been edited a little more. It has a young male narrator and it is set in the 1920's in Maine during the summer which lead to a different type of interesting read.
Jul 03, 2013 Kat rated it really liked it
Shelves: freebies
It was very refreshing to read about children being children. They ranged from 13 to 21 or so, but were still considered and treated accordingly for their ages. Most kids this age, these days act and are treated so much older. The innocence of youth has been lost. Kids barely act like kids for more than a few years, anymore.
I enjoyed this book for its innocence.
Aug 02, 2013 Deb rated it it was ok
I had a hard time keeping the characters straight and thought about abandoning this book. I am not sure why I persevered except for intermittent foreshadowing of bad things to come. By the time we got there it was almost anticlimactic. The period of the book, pre-world war II, never felt appropriately placed, the characters were too numerous to be well drawn.
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Ursula DeYoung grew up in a small seaside town north of Boston. She studied History and Literature at Harvard and received a Ph.D. in History from Oxford. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she divides her time between writing fiction and continuing her research on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century culture, science, and literature.
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