Published May 21st 2013 by HarperTeen
The Summer following the Winter that his mother took off, Sam’s dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town. Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary. Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him. Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she’s different from the others. He finds himself wanting to be around her, wanting to get to know her. But even though she is a bit different, she is still very strange. Meanwhile, Sam’s older, sex-crazed brother Jeff seems to be a one woman man now – he spends all his time with Kristle, one of the Girls. As the summer goes on, Sam discovers more about these Girls: like where they come from, why they’re here, and what they are.
September Girls has got some seriously bad reviews on Goodreads. It also has some seriously good ones. While I can see the validity of those bad reviews, I don’t necessarily agree. Also, some of those people only read some of the book – and the first part is definitely pretty bad. ‘Dude’ is thrown around with reckless, annoying abandon; Sam and Jeff are vulgar, crass and sex obsessed – there’s so much swearing – and a fair whack of whining. But I think that the beginning is supposed to be this way, because both boys change and mature over the summer. There’s still a lot of swearing and sexual references, but I stopped noticing. As in, it didn’t seem unnecessary anymore.
It’s definitely not a romance, so chuck that thought away. As for the mermaid element, these are not mermaids as you know them. It’s hard to explain, but it’s mostly about Sam, slowly uncovering more about these creatures. There are short interludes interspersed throughout from the mermaids point of view, each time explaining a little something more about them.
There was something really magically vague about September Girls. Actually, I think that the beautiful cover fits the book quite well (even though there’s no underwater kissing whatsoever), and I’ll explain why. The cover kind of shows you something while also hiding it – the bodies are just silhouettes – and that happens a bit in the novel. You may think you understand something, but it changes and loses focus. Also, there’s a kind of sedated, dreamlike quality to it. I don’t know – maybe I’m just romanticising it. There’s a word that I was trying to grasp while I was reading, but I couldn’t find it. It’ll probably come to me later.
I’m not sure that I would go searching for more of Bennett Madison’s stuff, but I wouldn’t not read any more, if you know what I mean? I can’t think of any similar books, either. I’m not even sure who I would recommend this to! I guess, use your own judgement on whether or not you would like to read this.
My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.03/5