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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

PRAISE FOR SEPTEMBER GIRLS:“A meditation on manhood takes a turn into magical realism in this mesmerizing novel.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Madison maintains the same hazy, syrupy languidness that distinguished The Blonde of the Joke. A surprising story of a kid finding love and himself, when he wasn’t looking for either.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Madison’s novel offers up a feast of mythology and human nature. This isn’t just a supernatural beach read; it’s a rare and lovely novel, deserving of attention from discriminating readers.” (Booklist (starred review))

“An exquisitely haunting work of magical realism.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))

“Legends of mermaids, magic, and curses coupled with teenage lust and in-your-face raunchy lingo make this a unique attempt to combine seemingly disparate elements. This novel is Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Mermaid” meets modern teenage angst.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Eerie and desperately romantic, September Girls is a myth measured out in summer days, game shows, French fries and women’s magazines. Bennett Madison makes a seedy beach town into the stuff of legends, and he has worked an intoxicating magic. Amazing.” (E. Lockhart, author of the National Book Award finalist The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and The Boyfriend List)

“Beneath the dreamy warmth and languor of beach days and summer romance, September Girls delivers an intricate story of identity and freedom, the ties and histories that thwart those things, and love. A truly original coming-of-age tale.” (Sara Zarr, author of the National Book Award finalist Story of a Girl)

“Reading this book is like holding your breath underwater—you won’t want to come up for air.” (Jenny Han, author of the New York Times bestselling The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy)

“I came away enthralled by this transfixing story and overcome by Bennett Madison’s breathtaking talent as a writer. Gorgeously rendered and teeming with shocks and deep truths, September Girls is a daring book that reveals the boundless possibilities of YA fiction.” (Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone)

“Highly original.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“A wry, sharp read. Spend the weekend unraveling its mystery, and you’ll set the tone nicely for your own sexy summer.” (

“A darkly funny novel.” (

“Madison’s writing is somehow both dreamy and razor-sharp, like the ocean that laps quietly in the background. Teens and adults alike will be spooked and intrigued in equal parts as the book works toward an ending as satisfying and heartbreaking as the end of a sleepy summer.” (Shelf Awareness)

“The depictions of young flirtation and sexual frustration are right on point and may be the truest imitations of it I’ve read yet.” (BookPage)

“An odd and beautiful and risky novel. From Madison, I wouldn’t expect any other kind.” (Locus)

“Bennett Madison’s splashy—pardon the pun—new novel September Girls is equal parts teenage drama and supernatural whimsy, and the combination is sweet, surprising and most certainly lingering.” (

PRAISE FOR THE BLONDE OF THE JOKE:“Off-kilter humor, moody narration, and twisted psychology make this sardonic exploration of suburbia thrilling-like pocketing lip gloss and walking right out of the store.” (School Library Journal)

“This wickedly funny novel has it all—style, depth, bite, and a punch line you won’t be able to forget.” (Sarah Mlynowski, author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have))

“The Blonde of the Joke turns a dull suburban landscape into a mythical place, full of treasure, inner demons, and transformations. Bennett Madison is one of the best YA writers around and this is his sharpest book to date.” (Maureen Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Star)

“A delightfully wicked book—a supersexy celebration of good girls gone bad, and a haunting ode to teenage rebellion.” (James St. James, author of Freak Show)

“A ridiculous, riotous, tongue-in-cheek mad dash through the mall where everything is not as it seems and where the cheap jokes and the bounty grow like apples on trees.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“You will fall in love with The Blonde of the Joke the moment you enter its mall-wandering, skater-boy loving, dark secret-hiding world. Poetic and punchy, sarcastic and true, I gobbled this up and was left wanting so much more.” (Sara Shepard, author of the New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series)

“Madison’s honest and darkly comic prose takes this mall-rat tale to mythical heights. The punchline is definitely bittersweet and will leave a good many readers anticipating Madison’s next book.” (Booklist)

“Madison’s dreamlike prose imbues the most ordinary moments with cosmic significance. Readers will soak up every bit.” (Publishers Weekly)

Présentation de l'éditeur

September Girls is a stunning coming-of-age novel about first loves, oblivious parents, sibling rivalries—and mermaids. This imaginative and painfully honest book garnered five starred reviews, including one from ALA Booklist that proclaimed it "a rare and lovely novel, deserving of attention from discriminating readers."

Whisked away by his father to an unusual beach town in the Outer Banks, Sam finds himself having the summer vacation most guys dream of. He's surrounded by beautiful blonde girls, and, better yet, they all seem inexplicably attracted to him. But there's definitely something strange about the Girls. They only wear flats because heels make their feet bleed. They never go swimming in the water. And they all want something from him.

Sam falls for one of the Girls, DeeDee, and begins an unexpected summer romance. But as they get closer, she pulls away without explanation. Sam knows that if he is going to win her back, he'll have to learn the Girls' secret.

Bennett Madison, critically acclaimed author of The Blonde of the Joke, brings a mix of lyrical writing, psychologically complex characters, and sardonic humor to this young adult novel. September Girls is perfect for fans of the irreverent wit of Ned Vizzini and the seductive magic of fairy tales retold.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 35 commentaires
12 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A dark mermaid tale of teenage lust and love 25 juillet 2013
Par Kimberly C - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
After his mother leaves, Sam is dragged to the beach by his father and his older brother Jeff. There, he encounters the Girls, numerous beautiful teenage girls who flock to him like mysterious creatures. Sam doesn't understand them- his brother's new girlfriend Kristle, his new friend DeeDee. But there is something magical about these girls. And something dangerous and lonely.

September Girls follows the story of Sam and his summer at the mysterious beach where he meets the Girls. Not one girl, not five girls. Many many girls. All beautiful, lovely, glorious and eh-hem, blond. And they are all after Sam.

There have been many mixed reviews posted so far and I for one really liked it. For real. I did.

It is beautifully written, the words turning over and over in my head giving the entire book a fairy tale and unreal quality. The beach is a mythical place, full of juxtapositions, strong temptations and desires. The book alternates between Sam's point of view and chapters written by the Girls (mermaids) and what they know, or think they know. It reminded me a lot like a Greek chorus, a tragedy, being trapped, seeing the future, and not being able to stop it.

Depending on what you've read before, Sirens and Mermaids are usually talked about as being beautiful women who lure fishermen into the sea to drown them. Or save them. Or both. What I'm saying is that the idea itself of a mermaid, who watches over or kills men at sea, is dark, alluring and already has elements of sexism. (I don't remember a lot of stories about mermen, though they must exist, right?) We forget that the original The Little Mermaid ended quite differently than Ariel and Eric finding true happiness. We forget that HEA are not always when the couple ends up together.

Sam, while maybe not a likeable character, is at least an interesting one.
Through the entire book, he is growing up and away. His mother is gone. He is stuck with a vacant father and sex driven brother. And now he's surrounded by girls who want him, in a way he has never been wanted, with no one to guide him. (And yes, I'm saying no one because even Sam knows not to take his brother Jeff's advice on women.)

DeeDee stands out among the Girls, but even she is watery, hard to grasp. But then again, maybe that is the point. And while others may not like DeeDee's rant about women in the bible, I found it pretty funny and refreshing. Take into account - Here is a mermaid, someone from out of this world, and she is trying to figure out this new culture, custom, environment. And her rant is what she takes away from her reading. The funny thing is that I don't believe she is using the word in a negative or derogatory way. She is being sarcastic and using it as a way to illustrate how the outside world views these women, and how we are taught to view these women. And how, no matter what we do, we are all hoes. And what does that word mean anyway?

Kristle is the other Girl who is in the forefront as Jeff's girlfriend. She's complicated, using her sexuality to obtain her main goal which is not obvious until the end. Does that make her a ho? Using her sexuality to further her agenda? Being in touch with her sexuality? Wanting sex? Men? Using her beauty? Depends on who you talk to. And at the end, does it help her?

This book is all about on what YOU take away from it.

Let's be honest- YA is a hard genre to really nail down. A 13 year old reader is different than a 17 year old reader. Do I think a 13 year old reader should read it? Maybe not?
Though truthfully, I was reading John Irving at 13 years old. (Yes. John Irving is where yours truly read her first sex scene in a book. Thank you World According to Garp.) So I think there are many 13 year olds that can handle that.

While I did find parts of the book to be a bit abrasive, particularly some of the dialogue which seemed forced or out of place, I can't say that the sex or language bothered me overall. I can see how it might offend some people and maybe thought inappropriate for a younger audience, but for me these things just added to the strange mood and tone of the book. These characters are not role models, nor are they supposed to be.

An interesting and controversial read. It made me think.
The cover is lovely but the fairy tale inside is equally dark and mysterious.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An interesting take on mermaids 19 janvier 2014
Par Brittany Moore - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
Sam's mother has left and so his dad decides to take them away for the summer to some remote beach. Sam doesn't mind being able to step away for awhile, but something is strange about this beach. There are girls everywhere and they are all looking at him. They also all look eerily similar. That's when Sam meets Deedee. He is fascinated by her and wants to really get to know her. Deedee doesn't seem to want to let him get that close though and Sam isn't sure what he's done to push her away. If Sam doesn't figure out what's so special about the Girls and this beach he might lose her forever.

First, let me address the big controversy surrounding this book. Sexism. I can see how some people might think this book is sexist, there is talk about women's bodies in a sexual way. Is that sexist? I don't think it is. If you changed the gender of everyone in here the story would still make sense, the characters would still be highly sexualized, but I doubt that people would get up in arms about it being sexist. Sam and his brother and silly Sebastian think about sex, a lot. They are sort of pigs the way they talk (mostly Jeff). I don't think that their, at least Jeff and Sam's, actions follow through with this. Really it's a case of Jeff trying to hard to be a Dude's Dude. He's just trying to act out what his idea of macho is and it sucks. There is lot's of talk about dicks in this book too. That's because guys have them and when they are aroused, their dicks make a big deal about it. That's how you can tell this novel was written by a guy is the fact that the boys in this novel have dicks (not that women authors don't write about men bits, but...). They're important. The other part of the sexism is that Sam's always remarking about the Girl's features. OF COURSE HE IS, THEY'RE MAGIC! Would you consider a sailor being lured by a Siren a novel about sexism? No (well, maybe, who knows what you're thinking). They are magic and otherworldly. Of course he's going to talk about how they look, because it changes and he's drawn to them and they are drawn to him. I also would like to mention without spoiling anything that there is only one reason that the Girls have any interest in Sam to begin with so... If anything I felt like this novel was supporting women and all their glorious beauty. A lot of girls try really hard to make themselves look like something they aren't and this touches on that. Sam didn't care about how hot all of them were, he wanted to get to know one of them.

Now on to the rest of the book. I enjoyed it. One of my favorite things were all the Little Mermaid references. It was positively delightful to come across one. I really enjoy mermaid tales which I didn't really know this was one until I started reading. Really, the only thing I knew about this book is that I thoroughly love that cover. Oh, and Ransom Riggs talked about it in a Tea Time with EpicReads. It was an interesting story and I enjoyed how it unfolded.

Some of the characters could have used some more development. I feel like this book was all about Sam and everyone else was hazy in the periphery. I have a hard time enjoying characters that are only in the book very briefly. I felt like Sebastian was kind of a non-character and was only an anchor for Sam to tie himself back to his old life. Sam's mom and also could have been developed more. It's always hard in a young adult novel to get a better grasp of the people around the main character. You're seeing things from Sam's skewed perspective and a kid doesn't usually know much about the inner-workings of his parent's minds. I understand this, but I still wished we could've known more about them. I feel like at the very least we could have had a better view of who Jeff really was. He wasn't a mystery to Sam and we could have seen him developed more so that the change in his personality would have mattered significantly more.

I liked the Girls chapters a lot and would have been happy with a book told completely from their perspective like that. It gives the story a haunting, surreal feeling. I liked the legend part most of all so more of it would not have been a bad thing.

If you enjoy watching a character find themselves and grow throughout a novel and having a bit of mermaid lore woven into the story, check this book out.

First Line:
"The summer following the winter that my mother took off into something called Women's Land for what I could only guess would be all eternity, my father decided that there was no choice but for him to quit his despised job and take me and my brother to the beach for at least the entire summer and possibly longer."

Favorite Line:
"Their hair was twirling around their bodies in twisty, jumping crowns of brilliant neon."
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
September Girls by Bennett Madison 19 décembre 2013
Par Bloggers Recommend - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Skip this if you're squeamish about what really goes on in teen boys' brains, but get past that and you'll find an honest, reflective story about a magical lost summer and a fascinating twist on "The Little Mermaid" fairy tale. Excellent characterizations and family dynamics throughout.
32 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I could never recommend this book with a good conscious... 22 mai 2013
Par Steph Sinclair - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Actual rating: NO STARS

I can't believe I survived. Should I laugh? Cry?

Definitely both.

Full disclosure: I went into this book with a suspicion that I might not enjoy it after my bookish twin panned it. But since I requested this book and was sent a paper ARC from the publisher, I thought I'd try to go in with an open mind and try it out.

That was probably not the best decision I've ever made in life.

It goes without saying that this review will be long, contain spoilers and quotes that might possibly make your eyes bleed. RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN.

There are two reasons why I felt I NEEDED to have this book. (1) Just look at that cover! (2) The blurb made it sound like a fun summer read. On both of those counts I was mislead, but especially when it came to the blurb. If you think this book has romance, guess again. If you think it will keep you on the edge of your seat, guess again. If you expect this book to be coherent in any fashion, guess again!

What you will get with September Girls is an anti-climatic plot, slut shaming, gendered language, poorly represented feminism and sexism. Oh and penises. Isn't it everything you could have hoped and dreamed for in a mermaid novel?

Terrible Characters:

Okay so the book follows this boy named Sam. His mother has just left him, his brother, Jeff, and his dad for some mysterious placed called Women's Land (more on that in a bit.) Sam's dad quits his job and they journey to this strange beach that is brimming with girls. Not just any girls. Highly sexualized, blond, perky breasted, toned-bottomed, tanned girls. And guess what? They all want Sam. Sam, who slut shames, starting from page 25 where he reminisces about groping a girl's breasts "through her deliberately slutty Alice in Wonderland costume." Sam, you can't feel a girl up and then slut shame her once you've gotten what you want, silly!

Then you have Jeff, who's only care in the world is having sex as much as possible over the summer. He doesn't particularly care who it's with as long as she is hot and preferably drunk. You know, the usual standards.

"Oh, who gives a f---," Jeff said. "The point is they're hot and they're here. I hope they're already drunk when we get to the party. I hope they are ready for a piece of this." He groped his crotch obnoxiously.

Such an outstanding gentleman. Ladies, don't rush this stud all at once!

Sebastian was a really random character who didn't even have physical presence in the book, but I've decided I hated him slightly more than the others. You see, Sebastian was just full of dating advice for Sam. And when in doubt, Sam would always wonder what his good old buddy would say.

Oh, Sebastian, I'm such a boring character with absolutely no depth or personality and this hottie is talking to me. What should I say?

"Girls like to talk about themselves. If you can't think of anything to say, just ask some dumb question about nothing, and if you're lucky she'll go off and you won't have to say anything else for another ten minutes and she'll think you're a great listener."

He's like a Dr. Phil, I swear. He clearly understands the complexity of the female mind.

But... I think I might be falling for her even though we've only interacted a few times. I'm thinking about her all the time, but she seems smart and appears to be ignoring me. What now?! Should I go looking for her, find out where she lives, visit her at her work place until she relents?

"Wait, this is all over some girl? Don't be such a f---ing vagina, dude! I mean, dude! You go to the beach for a month and you turn into a human tampon!"

What a guy! I just love it when someone uses the name of my genitals to insult someone! For those of you like me with small female minds, that roughly translated as:


Were any of the above quotes supposed think, "Oh hells yeah. These guys sound so authentic. This book is so--" Wait, let me see what the back of the ARC says. Oh yeah, "poetic and punchy, sarcastic and true," says Sara Shepard. Well, darn. Who am I to argue with that logic and quotes that were clearly "sarcastic and true." I suppose I'm just a sensitive little female with no humor bone in her body. In fact, I have no bones. I am made of tampons.

What I really don't understand is why Madison couldn't make any of his characters likable. Having your male characters degrade women with their words at any chance they get isn't authentic. It's insulting to both genders and a disservice to humanity.

Anti-climatic plot:

There were times when September Girls attempted to actually tell a story. The only problem is that almost nothing ever happens. Oh, I lied. Sam does do things. Here is his routine:

-Wake up
-Walk around the beach
-Have women thrown at his feet
-Stare at a Girl's "heart-shaped @$$." *raging boner* That slut.
-Come home
-Skip monologue. The Price is Right is on.
-Jerk off
-Ahhhh... sweet self-satisfaction!

Cool story bro, I hope it doesn't have a sequel.

Slut Shaming:

September Girls' biggest problem would have to be the amount of slut shaming and the overall deeming attitude toward women. (And if you are unfamiliar with what slut shaming is, here is a great article at The Book Lantern.) Jeff just looks at them as conquest, something to satisfy his pleasure. Sebastian can't be bothered to show any human decency. And Sam follows after the other two, except he takes it a step further when his brother starts hanging out more with a certain Girl named Kristle:

"He had clearly entangled himself in that dire pussy-web he'd warned me about on our first night here."

That's right, guys! Beware the female "pussy-web." It'll gettcha! What kills me about this is that it isn't assumed that his brother may like Kristle just because she's a person. Instead, they reason that if a guy falls for a girl it is strictly because of what she is offering sexually, therefore, objectifying her.

"And by the way, Kristle's a total slut, so I hope you haven't caught anything from her yet."

Tell us how you really feel, Sam.

"Okay, she's not a slut," I said testily. "Just a skank."

So glad we got that cleared up!

Not only do the men in this novel have a blatant disrespect for women and slut shame, but the Girls do as well. The one Girl who does this the most is one special ray of sunshine named DeeDee. Now, mostly DeeDee just talks a bunch of crap and makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. She was also their resident Ho-olgist. She knew all about dem hos in the bible. Those are her favorite stories. Dem hos. See if you can keep up with the poetry she's spittin':

"I like the parts about hos, even if they always come to a bad end. Eat a f---ing apple, you're a ho. Open a box, you're a ho. Some guy looks at you: turn to stone, ho. See you later, ho. It's always the same. The best one is Lilith--also a ho, but a different kind of ho. She went and got her own little thing going, and for that she gets to be an eternal demon queen, lucky her. No one likes a ho. Except when they do, which, obviously, is most of the time. Doesn't make a difference; she always gets hers eventually."


"Is that really in the Bible?"
"No. Some of it. Well, the ho with the apple at least."
"I never thought of her as a ho."
"Think again."

The ho... with the apple. I... HUH?

"God," DeeDee said, reaching for an ashtray and stubbing out her cigarette. I couldn't take my eyes off her. "Kristle can be so ridiculous. But who knows what I'd do without her. Total ho, by the way--not that I'm judging; I actually like hos myself. Maybe I am one--I barely know what counts anymore. Being blond certainly never helped anyone's case."

She's probably even got hos in different area codes. I wouldn't put it past her.

Poor Representation of Feminism:

And this is the part that really made me rage. So Sam's mom was a housewife from what I gather from the book. Now the thing is, when you are a parent or mate that stays home, it can be very easy to fall into the rut of *exclusively* taking care of everyone else and forgetting your needs too. Moreover, everyone else in the household might forget. That's why it's so important to find a hobby, get outside the house, do things for yourself for your own sanity and health. There is a scene where Sam and DeeDee are talking about housewives and how she feels being a housewife would be fun because they don't work and they are apparently "free." Sam has a monologue moment where he says "my mother spouted about something called the Feminine Mystique" and he considered it "pure $***."

Then he goes on to say this:

"If you were housewives you could just sit around all day with your feet in footbaths full of Epsom salts."

This is a common misconception of the role of a housewife and it's one of the most under-appreciated jobs a person can ever have. That passage is problematic and further perpetuates the stereotype of a housewife being lazy and doing nothing all day. I REALLY don't appreciate the attempted humor here when in the 1950s, suburban living had a very high rate of suicides among women. (Richard Yates highlighted this a bit in his novel Revolutionary Road. There was also a film adaptation where the DiCaprio/Winslet duo wrecked havoc on my feels yet again!) Managing the home and kids while being separated from society literally drove some women insane. Even in today's world, women who stay at home suffer more emotionally then their working counterparts.

Back in May of 2012, Gallup did a survey of over 60,000 US women between the ages of 18-64 and their results were depressing:

"Stay-at-home moms also lag behind employed moms in terms of their daily positive emotions: They are less likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot, learned something interesting, and experienced enjoyment and happiness "yesterday." Additionally, they are less likely than employed moms to rate their lives highly enough to be considered "thriving."" - Gallup

Mothers at home also can have feelings of worthlessness and lack of accomplishment. Many of what they do, volunteering in schools and taking care of the children, goes ignored in our society. I think it was in very poor taste for Madison to use this as joke fodder in his novel. Sam was only one step away from calling her a "bored housewife." At this point nothing should surprise you in this book when it is nothing BUT female stereotypes.

So his mom stayed home to take care of her family until one day she discovered FaceBook. First, she would post things on his FaceBook wall, but then she moved onto Farmville (which I hear is ridiculously addictive). He complains about her always being in the basement on the computer all day playing this game. And when she's not playing, she's always talking about it. But according to Sam, the real problem starts when she makes friends. Because his mother having a life is definitely a major problem! I guess he expected his mother to do his laundry and cook him dinner forever and ever!

"She got all interested in this weird crap that she wouldn't have been able to tell you about before. She's reading all this poetry; she has a Tumblr, although I avoided looking at it. She won't shut up about this thing called the SCUM Manifesto..."

Sounds to me like his mother developed a hobby and found a means to have other human interaction. And hey, that's a good thing!

"In the Gallup study, stay-at-home moms found other ways to cope with depression by continuing education, blogging and joining the gym to have some social time with others." - CBS Atlantica

What I also dislike is the reason why she decided to leave her family. Madison had an opportunity to show feminism in a positive light, but he instead showed an extremist. Right after she reads SCUM Manifesto this happens:

"Then one day I'm getting ready for school and she knocks on my door with a bag packed and she tells me she's going to live at something called Women's Land, where no one ever has to talk to men."

Of course. Here is evil feminism breaking up a perfectly good family. I supposed this is just as good a time to reveal my master plan. Ladies, are you ready take over the world, moving all men underground only to be used for breeding, whist women rule the world? Muahahahahahaha! We'll hold the world hostage for a million dollars!

The next section spoils the ending, so read only if you are burning with curiosity or rage. Either will do.

"Save us with your Mighty-Joe-Young Penis!"

The Girls are all bound to this little beach by a curse placed on them by their father for... reasons. I didn't really understand why this was, but I think it had something to do with seeking revenge on their mother. BTW, their dad is the Endlessness and their mother is the Deepness. Don't ask me what that means. Anyway, it's really not important. What's important is this curse because it's the reason for why the Girls are so sexual. The book has sections where the Girls narrate and they describe this "knife" they have. This supposed "knife" is basically good looks. Perky breasts, perfect butt, blond, overall hotness. This is another stereotype I picked up on where women, who approach men instead of waiting for a guy or use their looks to gain things, are looked at as "predators."

But, of course, when the summer ends the Girls go into some weird lethargic state where their hair skin become dull and their faces sullen. No boys, no "knife." So basically I pictured then like Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

The only way each one of them to break the curse is if they have sex with a virgin boy. And they can't even initiate the encounter. They have to wait for Sam to talk to them first. So let's recap here: Not only do the Girls not have a choice when it comes to breaking the curse (well, they kinda do: break it or die), but it must be done by a male penis swooping in to liberate them. Their sexuality is not their own. It is owned by men.

Excuse me for a moment.


I mean, wow! I really think this book hit on almost every way to demean a women. That is quite a feat considering I never thought I'd read a book that offended me more than Fifty Shades of Grey . Congrats, September Girls! You get the new title of Worst Book I've Ever Read right up there next to Revealing Eden (and that's saying something).

If it isn't obvious, this book is terrible and I could never recommend it with a good conscious. But what do I know? Both Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly thought it was brilliant and gave it glowing reviews. Clearly, this is the sign of the end of the world because here's the truth: Reading September Girls was like being swept away by the ocean and drowni--


ARC was received via publisher for an honest review. No monies or favors were exchanged, though, I guess that's pretty obvious.

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Dive deeper and look for more than what you see on the surface. 19 octobre 2014
Par FireSprite - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book's only flaw is that it might have a tricky audience. In the first two paragraphs, I was already growling about the disaffected teenage voice and the cynical intellect in the main character--but I gave it a fair chance, and something happened: I fell in love with this book.

Is the main character a little selfish--a little despicable at first? Absolutely, and THIS is the raw beauty. Madison paints the uncertain 17-year-old male in gorgeous, unexaggerated awkwardness (even in a fantastical setting). His main both admires and despises his brother's apparent shallow "bro-ness" as well as his father's apparent empty cheerful passivity--all while questioning what it means to be a man.

Madison's Girls are trapped within arbitrary rules, seemingly nonsensical but constraining them only to certain aspects of identity. Like our main character, they search for themselves as some of them try to break out of the rules that bind them (a more potent metaphor cannot be found for every brand of expectation our society has for young women). Our main character also tries to understand the rules that trap them--and how his growing up is tied intrinsically to his summer at this strange beach.

Womanhood itself is shrouded in mystery for our main character, whose understanding of femininity begins as one-dimensional diatribe but grows to an awed vision of an intricately-woven tapestry of power, intelligence, and emotion that he can never completely understand.

This book is shimmery and sparkly on the surface, boiling with cynical teenage thoughts and simplistic male conclusions--but make no mistake--the point of a coming-of-age novel is to illustrate the easy ignorance of youth and the heartbreaking beauty of growing up, that transition of affection-as-ownership to affection-as-understanding, and learning that people's hearts and minds always run in deeper currents than their appearance allows us to see.
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