I included both covers. I guess the first one came out and they realized that the people looked about 37 years old.
This is one of those examples of when the book was way better in my memory than in real life. As we know, Ann is a terrif writer, but she must have spewed this one out to fullfill a contract. It’s like a hodgepodge of discarded BSC plotlines. Here’s the scoop: Melanie’s family vacations on Fire Island every summer and she meets this boy Justin and they have the titular summer romance. He is all mysterious about himself and when the school year starts she finds out he actually is about to star in a sitcome and becomes a teen idol. Melanie is mad that he did not reveal this to her (yes, teenagers would be SO ANGRY if they were dating a teen idol) so she tracks him down and they live happily ever after.
Melanie is quite irritating. She is eternally chipper and chatty. When Justin asks her out, she runs home to her family and announces it and makes a big deal. Maybe it’s just me that thinks this is weird, because I was never one to reveal all the details of my dating life (what existed of it) to my whole family. Justin is like a combination of Tobey (Stacy’s boyf from Sea City) and Zac Efron. At least in my mind. They hang out on the beach, eat French fries, go clamming and walk around. I guess they have fun but it’s nothing extraordinatory. Except that they drop the l-bomb after three weeks. When they are out, Justin holds Melanie’s hands between his and calls is a “hand sandwich”. As soon as I read that again the memories of that line came flooding back. Justin is a tool.
The family who has the house next to Melanie’s on fire island has three kids the same age as the kids in Melanie’s family, and they all are “summertime best friends”. This is puzzling, because these are a lot of characters to introduce that are never heard from again. Mel’s sbff is Lacey, who is from New York City, so you know that means according to Ann M.- she is uber-sophisticated and hangs out at the Met and the Empire State Building and shops at Bloomingdale’s every day.
Also, Mel’s kind of a bitch for designating her best friends as her “summer” bf and her “regular” bf.
Lacey does keep it real- she gets a little miffed that Mel gets a boyfriend because Melanie won’t shut up about it she feels like it is going to change things between them. Lacey I hear you- I still kind of feel that way about my friends.
So back during the school year Melanie goes on bland dates with a guy PJ and he asks her to go steady, but she can’t because she just! can’t! stop! thinking! about! Justin! She and Lacey try to track him down by using the phone book. Yikes! How eighties of them! That’s the other thing- at the end of the summer, Justin did not give Melanie his contact info saying he moves around a lot and that he’ll take hers and call her when he gets settled. That’s his 1987 15-year-old way of saying “I’m just not that into you.”
Justin is on a sitcom that, by the way it is described, sounds like a cross between Family Matters and Step by Step. In other words, hilarious.
Melanie visits Lacey in the city during the school year and reads in a magazine that the cast of the show will be appearing at Lincoln center so she drags Lacey there, and I am sure that Lacey is fucking thrilled to be Mel’s wingman AGAIN. She sees Justin there and asks him for his autograph, and when he sees it’s Melanie, he writes “I love you” and his phone number. Even when my nine-year-old self was reading this, I found all the love talk weird. Maybe I was just really cynical about it then too.
So they meet up once again in the city and Justin gives her a bag of sand from Fire Island to remember when they met. Vomit.
Ann can totally do better- and has. What is with her obsession with Fire Island? That is where the Russo’s went in Eleven Kids, One Summer. And where the BSC go a couple of times.