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The Summer of Naked Swim Parties

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  1,575 Ratings  ·  243 Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Jamie will never forget the summer of 1976. It's the summer when she has her first boyfriend, cute surfer Flip Jenkins; it's the summer when her two best friends get serious about sex, cigarettes, and tanning; it's the summer when her parents throw, yes, naked swim parties, leaving Jamie flushed with embarrassment. And it's the summer that forever changes ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Will Byrnes
No literary pretensions here. Jamie is 14 and coming of age. It is the early 1970s and her parents are maybe not the most restrictive. They host naked swim parties at their home in Santa Barbara, smoke far too much weed and place almost no restrictions on their children. This is unnerving for Jamie, who has developed on schedule, unlike her older sister, who, of course, hates her for that. First kiss, first date, and more is in store for Jamie this summer. Also a more mature way of seeing people ...more
I do love coming of age stories. This one (think Freaks and Geeks) does such a great job of reminding you what it is like to be a teenager.

The story unfolds during the summertime of 1976. It is a time of change for Jaime- her relationships are all changing and she is trying to get her footing. As she changes, so do her friendships. Her parents are wealthy hippies (I imagined them like the parents in Valley Girl) who parent Jaime and her sister by benign neglect. They are definite weirdos accordi
Nov 23, 2008 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: early teens and older
A coming of age story of a 14-year-old California girl, it is happy and sad alternately, much like teen life itself. With an older sister who is angry with the fact that young Jamie has developed early, leaving Renee far behind, and hippy parents who throw wild swim parties complete with booze, pot, and naked adults, Jamie is confused and embarrassed most of the time. She is also fearful. Earthquakes, fires, broken glass, poisonous snakes, death..., and worst of all, that the police will come wh ...more
Jun 23, 2008 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenagers concerned about tanlines
This book is pretty vapid. I was looking for a "beach read" and was attracted to the 70's stripey styling of the cover and chapter pages. Too bad I never really enjoy beach reads. This one was easy to get through but I felt like I would have learned more about myself and the world reading a PEOPLE magazine.
saadia k
Jun 19, 2009 saadia k rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: growing-up
Written by the daughter of the wonderful Sheridan Blau, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties is the kind of book I would have loved when I was 13 or 14. At times I really enjoyed it, and at other times it really made me cringe. The stupidity of teenagehood always makes me feel vaguely ill (and sometimes acutely so), and the book's 14-year-old protagonist Jamie, her friends, and her boyfriend really made me want to put the book down several times for nausea. However, I did appreciate the sisterly sub ...more
May 09, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, favorites
Omg, I loved loved LOVED this book. Totally, absolutely LOVED IT!!! I feel like I'm parting with a good friend now that I have read the final pages, and I'm actually a bit sad to leave her behind. :( It would be wonderful if the author some day wrote a sequel (hint hint to the author if she ever happens to read this!).

"The Summer of Naked Swim Parties" is the coming-of-age story of 14-year-old Jamie, taking place during a care-free California summer in the 70's. Jamie's parents are free spirits
Sep 05, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swapped
It was the title of this book that led me to pick it up while browsing at Borders, I have to admit. But this turned out to be a great book!

Jamie's parents are far from traditional, 70s hippies hosting naked swim parties, smoking pot,and letting their 14- and 16-year-old daughters do pretty much anything they want, without curfews or limits. Their daughters are more responsible than they are, and long for a "normal" family.

This is the story of Jamie's first boyfriend, her deteroriating relationsh
AJ LeBlanc
Aug 24, 2009 AJ LeBlanc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was painful because of its reality. Blau does an amazing job capturing the hopelessness and hopefulness of 14 year old girls. Jamie is a perfect follower - she knows all of the bad things that can happen in any situation, yet is willing to assume someone else in the group must know what's going on, so why not keep up? The cruelness of girls is brilliantly done and often contrasted with their kindness. It's amazing to me how girls can switch between the two within a few heartbeats and m ...more
Jamie is fourteen years old and living in southern California in the Bicentennial summer of '76 and is dealing with relationship issues with little help or guidance from her older sister who seems to hate her, her parents who are the epitome of permissive (they are the ones who swim naked), her slacker/surfer boyfriend who deflowers her and then abandons her at the first hint of problems, or her so-called friends who drop her like a hot potato when the boyfriend ditches her. The book could be a ...more
May 05, 2009 Kimberly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
I was disappointed by this one. The reviews said "You'll laugh and cry out loud in public." I did neither! I don't remember being sad at all or laughing much at all! This was a story of a 14 year old girl's summer, kind of coming of age tale, set in the 70s. Most of the things they did, I found utterly amazing, being that they were 14, but then again, I was a baby in the 70s, so maybe I just grew up in a whole different era!
May 30, 2008 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Wolfe
Jul 05, 2013 Bill Wolfe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please see my review (and my conversation with Jessica Anya Blau on Sept. 6) on my blog,
Nikki Byrne
Laughed out loud many times. Reminded me how horrible and wonderful it was being a teenager.
Kristin Marshall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Feltz
This coming of age story is an easy read (tho one I'd likely have enjoyed more when I too was coming of age). Jamie reckons with her expectations around family, friends, love and life. The adolescent point of view rings true, which can be helpful for folks struggling to relate to teens of their own.
Melissa Salce
Jun 04, 2017 Melissa Salce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! My favorite type of book -- a coming of age story that rings true. It does not try too hard, but totally takes you back to high school and all of the feelings involved with friends, first boyfriends, and family. Such a great read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Gregory
The saying holds true in terms of "don't judge a book by its cover". I was instantly attracted to the cover of this book and I suppose I had high hope of this being a great summer read. Boy was I let down. This is a coming of age story about a young girl in the 1970s... but what the point of it is... I'm still not sure.
Vikki VanSickle
I have read two books this year that portray very complicated and engaging sister relationships, the first being Tell the Wolves I've Home and this being the second. The Summer of Naked Swim Parties takes place in California in the 1970s and the author does a fantastic job bringing this period to life. Fourteen year old Jamie misses the days when she and her older sister Renee were so close people used to think they were twins. But Renee is busy cultivating a good girl, straight-and-narrow, youn ...more
Sarah Dorman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is okay. Just okay. And those are always books I find hardest to review. There was nothing very good or very bad about it. It had its moments. There was some humor and some serious parts. I liked the complicated relationship between the sisters, it felt very real. It did a good job of making you feel the awkward, embarrassing moments. And it made it okay to be different from your friends and everyone else you know and it let you know that you are not the only one who feels apart from e ...more
Perryville Library
Published this year, Ms. Blau’s young-adult novel would not be recommended by me to any middle school nor early high school student. Part memoir, part fiction, the story enfolds through the sensitive eyes of 14-year old Jamie during the bicentennial summer of 1976 in Santa Barbara, California.

The story is very funny in part, to me, as the author seems to capture perfectly the embarrassment Jamie and her older sister, Renee, feel as their wealthy, free-spirited parents roam through the house and
Jun 02, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while attending Goucher College, since the author taught there, and it was our summer reading. The novel is loosely based on the main character's childhood and her coming-of-age. Her parents are hippies and nudists and very open about sex. This is both a blessing and a curse, and definitely complex.

Blau portrays childhood innocence lost and adolescence and the fear and confusion that comes with it deftly. Her narrative is pitch perfect as she portrays life with an over-the-top,
Nov 02, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memorable-reads
I had trouble deciding to give this book 4 or 5 stars, but I finally settled on 5. Although quite an easy read, this book is much deeper than it first appears.

It deals with friendship and romantic relationships quite well. Even though this resonates with a 16-year-old myself (not a 14-year-old) I could relate to so much. Falling out with friends, your first heartbreak, Blau made this feel just as painful as when I went through it myself. I think she captured the teenage angst quite well, and I l
Carolyn Stanley
Jul 28, 2008 Carolyn Stanley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ANYONE!

Summer of Naked Swim Parties is set in the 70's and revolves around a 14 year old girl and her eccentric parents who do just what the title says: Have naked swim parties. I personally want to vomit when I think of my parents being naked however, it's common in the book (swinging 70's) although the kids can't stand their parents and their parents friends being naked. They see their friends who have "normal" parents who bake and take their children places and "nurture" and they can
it's california in the year of the bicentennial and 14-year-old jamie has her first boyfriend, surfer-boy flip jenkins. her parents are throwing pool parties where no one wears a suit but everyone smokes weed, her sister renee has escaped the family for outward bound, and jamie's two best friends are having sex...and loving it. everything is changing and jamie isn't sure if she's reading to change with it.

this is kind of what you would expect for a coming-of-age story taking place in california
stephie kay
I was really enjoying this book for about 2/3s of it. I was going to recommend it to my 17-year old daughter and my book club. The narrator is 14 in 1976 and I would have been 11 that summer, so I loved her references to drinking TaB and watching Match Game and The Gong Show. Up to a certain event in the book the life of this 14-year old was interesting and entertaining. Then something terrible happens. And I couldn't get over it for the remaining 1/3 of the book. The narrator couldn't get over ...more
Sep 18, 2008 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my "car" book--that is the book that lives in the back-seat of my car and is available for reading during traffic jams, while waiting for hubby shop in the hardware store, or having lunch on the road. So far I really like it and it brings back a lot of memories of being a teen in the 70s--OK, so I was a teen in the late 60s but it's close.

Update: 10-10-08 - Finally finished this while on the road and although it wasn't a dynamic read, it got its message across quite nicely, which is that
Aug 30, 2008 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2008, own
This is one of those 'growing up' books that centres around a single, life changing, summer in a fourteen-year-old girl's world. She deals with her first real boyfriend and two best friends who are getting serious about sex, smoking and tanning. She also had to deal with parents who throw naked pool parties and don't have any house rules.

I laughed at a few parts and this book seriously has one of the best lines I've ever read in a novel. Considering I spent the entire day with my nose buried in
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Babies can't swim good... 1 23 Mar 10, 2009 03:18PM  
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