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September Girlsby Bennett Madison
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"When 17-year-old Sam accompanies his older brother and increasingly distracted father to a washed-out beach town for the summer, after his mother inexplicably bails on the family, he expects to spend long hours watching The Price Is Right. What he doesn't expect are legions of gorgeous, though somehow strange blonde 'Girls' (as Sam thinks of them) all eyeing him like he's, well, special. After Sam meets and feels an instant connection with one of the Girls, DeeDee, the summer takes a crazy turn. Madison gives Sam's voice the perfect blend of sardonic sharpness and teenage uncertainty. Though the story abounds with lustful groping, alcohol-drenched parties, and profane guy-talk, moments of insight sneak up, too, like when Sam realizes that he loves his mother despite her wanderings or that his brother, though not pedestal-worthy, is an okay guy. Madison maintains the same hazy, syrupy languidness that distinguished The Blonde of the Joke, giving summer days at the shore the same sort of mythological heft the fluorescent American mall possessed in his previous book. A surprising story of a kid finding love and himself, when he wasn't looking for either. Ages 14 up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“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
“A meditation on manhood takes a turn into magical realism in this mesmerizing novel.” Kirkus Reviews (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 odd and beautiful and risky novel. From Madison, I wouldnt 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.” Examiner.com
“A wry, sharp read. Spend the weekend unraveling its mystery, and you'll set the tone nicely for your own sexy summer.” MTV.com
“A darkly funny novel.” TeenVogue.com
“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)
“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
“Highly original.” Entertainment Weekly
“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
They were everywhere.
They were all beautiful.
They were all blond.
They were just there.
Like they had appeared out of nowhere.
When Sam's dad whisks him and his brother off to the beach for the summer, he's all for it — at first. Sam soon realizes, though, that this sleepy little beach town is anything but average. Time seems to slow down, 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. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he's going to get her back, he'll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live here.
About the Author
Bennett Madison learned everything he knows about shoplifting from working at the Gap, where his facility with a price gun earned him the esteemed title of Markdown Specialist, and he learned everything he knows about blondes from attending Sarah Lawrence College, where his four years of lackluster study failed to earn him a diploma. He has spent time as a phone psychic, a receptionist, and a layabout, and his greatest unfulfilled ambition is either to go on Survivor or to write X-Men comic books. He lives in New York City.
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