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Invincible Summer
Invincible Summer
Invincible Summer
Электронная книга226 страниц3 часа

Invincible Summer

Автор Hannah Moskowitz

Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд



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Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart.  But some girls are addictive....
Дата выпуска19 апр. 2011 г.
Invincible Summer
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Hannah Moskowitz

Hannah Moskowitz is the award-winning author of the young adult novels Sick Kids In Love; Not Otherwise Specified; Break; Invincible Summer; Gone, Gone, Gone; and Teeth; as well as the middle grade novels Zombie Tag and Marco Impossible. She lives in New York City. 

Читать больше произведений Hannah Moskowitz

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Рейтинг: 3.8823529411764706 из 5 звезд

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  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    I hope that what I write here actually makes coherent sense. It is no lie when I tell you that this book had me so emotionally drained yesterday that I couldn't even form a complete thought. I have never read a book by Hannah Moskowitz before Invincible Summer, but I tell you now that I will never miss a book by her ever again.

    I'm going to open my rambling review with a warning. Grab some tissues, and possibly some comfort food, before you read this book. There is so much emotion packed into these pages that it is impossible not to feel something while you read. My personal emotions ran the gambit from complete adoration for these characters, to empathy, right on down to loathing. Invincible Summer is an emotional roller coaster ride of the truest kind. Hannah Moskowitz knows just how to draw her reader in and keep them there, before completely ripping their heart out of their chest. The best part? You're just okay with it when it happens. Yes, this book is that good.

    Chase, Noah, Claudia, all the characters in this book are gorgeously and vividly written. They feel like old friends you might have been missing, because you know them so well in and out by the end of the book. Each one of them is fighting their own inner demons, but at the same time they are trying to learn how to help one another and just coexist. This is a story about families, and how they sometimes fall apart. It is a story about not being sure that growing up is really all that great. It is also a story about being so completely invested in someone that the mere thought of loosing them tears you apart. There are so many bittersweet relationships to observe that after a while I felt as though I just couldn't take it all in. Emotional overload would be a good description.

    From the prodigal son who can do no wrong in his mother's eyes, despite his constant running away, to the lone girl in the family who feels as though she might just be a little overwhelmed by it all, there is something for everyone to relate to. This isn't really a happy story by any means, and there are times when I did feel uncomfortable with what I was reading. Sometimes the interactions between these characters are awkward, or terse, or even downright odd. However it is that fact that really proves that Hannah Moskowitz sees into the heart of her characters, and thus the hearts of her readers. No life is perfect, why should our characters be?

    Am I rambling yet? I'm sure I am. There is just no way for me to legitimately explain to you how much I not only loved Invincible Summer, but also how deeply it touched me. Hannah Moskowitz has written something that is definitely not "your typical beach read" and thank goodness for that. This book is raw at times, and completely introspective at others. It is beautiful in the most tear-your-heart-out way possible. I will definitely be buying a copy of my very own and wearing the pages thin with rereading it over and over. Hands down, this is my favorite book of the year so far.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    I started this book on my lunch break the day it was released, and finished it that night. It was so good, I didn't want to put it down until I was done. First, I want to say how much I love the cover. I realize it might alienate some younger male readers because it looks "girly" (though it might not, considering the subject matter...) but I first saw it and thought I knew what was butt and what was boobs. Found out on Hannah's blog I was totally wrong! But I love that it goes both ways.

    Hannah has a great way of writing the non-stereotypical teenage boy character. I love how the siblings in her family are always close-knit and care so much about each other. She definitely made you feel like you were on the beach right with the characters, even though her imagery wasn't gratuitous, just vivid. The book takes place over four summers, and that's the only time you get to know the characters. I love that we don't see them the rest of the year, and it doesn't affect the story at all. We don't need to know anything about their lives except what happens during those summers. I thought I would miss the rest of the year, but it didn't leave holes like some other books have (Blume's Summer Sisters comes to mind as one that gave only glimpses, when a full year would be needed).

    Once the climax was close, it seemed inevitable, but it wasn't a let-down by any means. It was still very emotional without being sentimental, and the characters dealing with the aftermath was heartbreaking after getting to know them so well over the course of the book. Even after such a story arc, the ending didn't fall flat. I'll admit I skipped over almost all of the Camus quotes because they got quite long and I didn't want to get bogged down in them, but they were well-chosen to fit in the story.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    I don't even know how to do my usual pro/con rating for this novel.

    The book started as a 4, went to a 5 and then settled at a three honestly, the downfall in the end was that it simply suffered from too much tragedy. Divorce, rape, and now death?

    The family was already so broken and so demoralized, it seems like they could have been split apart without Gideon's death.

    Extremely well-written, neat use an anachronistic timeline, page turner!
  • Рейтинг: 2 из 5 звезд

    This book is okay if you want 4 identical cheesy stories of summertime romance. Some people will love it undoubtedly but I got bored fairly quick.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    “Gideon keeps falling down.”Within the opening line of Invincible Summer, is a hint of what will follow as the story of the McGill family unfolds. And who better to tell their story than Chase McGill. Chase, the self-appointed oldest brother (who is chronologically the second oldest), narrates this family saga over four summers as he struggles to keep it together and keep making sense of a dynamic that is sometimes impossible to make sense of…the modern family.The thing that really touched me on a visceral level about this story was the relationship between Chase and his older brother, Noah. Noah is a wanderer, a bit of a lost soul perhaps. Chase so desires to keep Noah within the family fold that it’s sometimes the only thing on his mind. But when the brothers are together, that’s the real magic of this book. The two are so touching together, so achingly close and intimate. As someone who grew up with three brothers, this bond that Moskowitz has somehow perfectly captured resonated so loudly for me it became the whole focal point of the story. Whatever happens between these two boys, the love they feel for one another is so solid—so breathlessly there—that it leaves you aching within its pulse.But as beautifully written as their relationship is, it is not entirely the focus of Invincible Summer. As the opening line alludes, this could in fact be considered a story of falling. We meet up with the McGills every summer for four years. The first summer, we meet the boys, their parents, their younger sister Claudia and deaf brother Gideon. And we also meet the Hathaway family that the McGills intimately share their summers with. There is Shannon, Bella, Melinda and their parents.There is a reason I listed all the characters here. In the first few pages of Invincible Summer, as a reader, I thought I was going to have a hard time keeping track of this rather large cast. My fears were quickly alleviated, though, as I got deeper into the McGills’ saga. Each character was so well drawn there was never any question about who was who. Moskowitz did a wonderful job making each one unique and memorable.There is another character in Invincible Summer worth mentioning. Albert Camus. He plays as big a role as some of the other characters. Moskowitz weaves beautiful Camus quotes throughout her story, as the boys become almost obsessed with his views and opinions of the world. After their introduction to him through Melinda, who has sex with both Chase and Noah, they are able to spout off Camus quotes for every event in their lives. This was done perfectly by Moskowitz, someone who clearly knows her Camus. It was such a delight to see the chosen quotes co-mingling with the story Moskowitz so expertly wove.I’m not going to go too far into the story of Invincible Summer. I feel to give details would be to give away too much. I’ll just say that there is always something happening. In the first summer, we see Chase and his clan deal with a new addition, the tie breaker baby sister who throws off the balance of blond and brunet in the McGill household. In the second summer we see a rift in the family that has them fracturing in such a unique way it’s as tickling as it is tragic. The pivotal moments in Invincible Summer seem to occur in and around Chase’s yearly summer birthday, a fact not lost on our narrator. Each summer, there are issues for the family to deal with. And as the reader sees them arrive and erupt on the page, we are filled with nostalgia, angst, regret and pain. We laugh with the McGills and we cry with the McGills.This book is one I will return to again and again. It’s an expertly woven tale of family dynamics, teen relationships and childhood summers. Every reader will connect to these memorable characters. Every reader will recall their own childhood summers as they dive deeper into this book… and how they felt both sickeningly vulnerable and powerfully invincible all at once as they struggled through those summers. And if they have siblings, they will ache with the familiarity of the sibling love that is so perfectly texturized in the bond between Noah and Chase. Moskowitz nailed the modern day family in this tale. I feel certain it will work its way into the hearts of all who read it.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    I absolutely, positutely (yep, not a word) LOVE main characters in books who are male. Maybe it’s because I enjoy getting inside of their minds or maybe it’s because it’s a change of pace from always reading from a girl’s perspective. But whatever the reason, I still love it and I, in turn loved Invincible Summer.Invincible Summer from the description and cover sounds like a young adult romance book, but it isn’t. It’s about Chase’s life over four summers from fourteen to eighteen. It catalog’s all of the family’s changes especially his relationship with his older brother Noah. Chase’s family was very real and dysfunctional. Some reviews I’ve read thought the family wasn’t believable because “what parents would let their 13 year old cuss in front of them?” I grew up in a family without many rules and where cussing wasn’t prohibited, so to me the family was real. The McGill’s were probably like many families in America today with their flaws.I could see the changes in Chase through the years by his thought process and difference in attitude. He reacted differently to situations summer after summer. He shared common interests in an author, Camus, with his brother Noah and a summer girl Melinda. In any situation, no matter how tiny or insignificant, they would recite lines from Camus’ works. Some of the conflict in Invincible Summer paired with the quotes of Camus broke my heart! Hannah Moskowitz wrote those quotes brilliantly into Invincible Summer. Hannah also had me looking up Camus’ work while reading Invincible SummerAfter reading Invincible Summer, I’m ready and willing to read more of Hannah’s novels in the future. I loved her storytelling…I read Invincible Summer in less than a day because I was drawn in!
  • Рейтинг: 1 из 5 звезд
    When I was asked to be a part of this book's blog tour, I was really excited! I'd seen a lot of reviews - both good and bad, that made me very curious about the story. I started reading the book expecting to immediately be caught up into Noah's story.Unfortunately, I was not. In fact, I kept putting it down and forcing myself to try getting into it again...but it never worked out for me. I just couldn't find anything appealing about the characters or their story. Nothing about it falls within my realm of experience, and I couldn't really find anything about any of the characters to make me feel invested in them. All the characters were diverse and complex, which would normally be a very good thing - but I just never found connections to them. I know this isn't the case for everyone, because there are a lot of positive reviews out there! I don't want to go into specific plot details since I don't have anything positive to say. If you pick the book up, I want you to make up your own mind without my ideas about certain particulars floating around in your head.One thing I can say is that the writing style itself was good. Hannah Moskowitz has a really insightful way of writing...I really wish I could have appreciated it more with characters I wanted to read about!Anyway, this was just not a book for me.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    Such a great read! I didn't know what to expect and at first I wasn't so sure but I grew to love the characters and the story behind it. I was significantly confused in the beginning with all the different characters and for a few pages thought Gideon was the family dog lol don't know how I got that but still. If you think your going to just get a light fluffy read out of this book you're in for a suprise. While parts of this book are laugh out loud funny, there are also some difficult issues and things that will pull on your heart strings. I absolutely feel in love with both the McGill and Hathaway families and the only character I didn't like was the infamous Melinda and I constantly wanted to yell at her tO close her legs but even she was bar able due to her unfortunate situation in college. I definitely need to read more from Hannah moskowitzs.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    I received this book from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab and I was pretty excited to read it. First of all, I really like the cover of this book for some reason. That being said, I think the cover of the book really threw me for a loop when I started reading this book. For some reason, I had it in my head that this book would be narrated by a female so when the narrator ended up being male I was surprised. It's not often that I read books narrated by a male but I really liked this one. I come from a big family; I have 5 younger siblings. I really liked that the McGill family had 5 children in it. There is Chase, the narrator, Noah who runs away every chance he gets, Gideon is the deaf younger brother, Claudia the younger sister trying to be grown up but really still a kid, and Lucy the baby of the family. Every year the McGill family spends the summer at their beach house and meets up with Hathaway family. This novel spans over several years but the story only ever progresses in the summer. I thought this novel would be a light beach read but I was definitely mistaken. Moskowitz does a good job at keeping the reader entertained and interested in what is going to happen next. There is a love triangle as well between Chase, Noah and one of the Hathaway girls. This triangle gets a bit strange and at times I questioned whether brothers would really act this way. When it comes to the reality factor, I have to say I think Moskowitz portrayed a real family with real problems quite well. I know that some readers may question the parenting skills of the McGill parents but coming from a large family I know that it is impossible to keep an eye on all your children at the same time. It can get chaotic and you just learn to live with this busyness. I have to say that the ending blew me away. I do not want to spoil it for anyone but I will say that I was not expecting any of that to happen. I left the book feeling a bit sad and I wanted to read more about the McGill and Hathaway family. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    Chase is excited to begin another summer at the family beach house. Knowing his older brother will leave soon for college, he is hoping for a summer of fun times with Noah. The neighbors who they always hang with have also returned, but things seem to be shifting as the children get older. Invincible Summer follows Chase’s life over the course of four summers as things begin to take dramatic turns in many directions. I would love to elaborate on this, but I can’t find the words. This book has so many layers, and I don’t think it is possible to give it a blurb or synopsis that truly does it justice.At first I thought this was just another story of kids raising themselves while the parents let the dysfunction fester. Parents who probably should have stopped procreating several children ago. Mom is pregnant, youngest brother is deaf, tween sister is seriously acting out, and older brother keeps his distance. This leaves narrator Chase to hold their world together. Chase’s idolization of his older brother crosses the boundaries of normal. The interactions between him and his little sister also erred on the side of strange. The bizarre sibling relationships made me feel almost uncomfortable at times. Even with the strange family dynamics, I couldn't help but be utterly pulled in by this author's writing, the world, and the characters she created. I was frantically turning the pages to discover what happened to this family that was falling apart before my eyes.The ending killed. Literally ripped my heart out and stomped on it. This is a book that leaves an impression. It isn’t the light beach read the cover leads you to believe exists between the pages. The plot is gritty and uninhibited. I’d use caution when recommending it to younger teens due to the sexual situations and language. If you’re looking for an intense contemporary read give this one a try.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    When I first got this book, I was expecting a good summer romance. It was nothing like that. What I got, was even better! This book is told from Chase's point of view in all the summers of his teen years. I like that. As an avid reader, you really don't get to read many books from a male pov, so I was excited to do so. I have never seen summer so dramatic (in a good way!). What I like most about this book is the dynamic plot it has. Yes, dynamic. It's explosive, the bomb diggity, da bomb! I was completely torn to bits by all the happenings in the plot. Chase and his family goes through a lot through out the summers.One thing about this book is that it is not some lovey, dovey summer story. It has great raw emotions just flowing off the pages of the book. I felt angry, happy, sad, and even jealousy. You get see inside of the family and all of their problems. What's more, is that you see the family stick through it all together. They may have had their problems and share of mistakes, but they make it through.I adored Chase. His strength and amazing selflessness in all that he does, made my heart melt. He was used, mistreated, and acted too mature for a kid who is supposed to be a teenager. He took care of his siblings as if they were his own. He took great responsibility for things he didn't have too. Yet, he remained strong. I am amazed.Invincible Summer is great, powerful, emotional read that has stolen my heart. The development of all the characters throughout the plot is clear. Chase's voice is easy to hear and feel. Ms. Moskowitz did a wonderfully job writing this book. I can't wait to read what she write next!
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    Summers at the beach are everything to Chase. Every summer he and his family pack up and head to the beach where they meet up with the Hathaway’s. This is how it’s always been and how he imagines it always should be. Life at the beach is perfect.When the book begins, Chase is about to turn fifteen, and he’s doing his best to keep his family together. Older brother Noah is flighty, moody, and runs off every chance he gets. Younger sister, Claudia, is eleven and already a handful. His youngest brother, Gideon, is totally deaf, and his mother is pregnant with her fifth child, due any day now.This is the summer he shares his first kiss with Bella Hathaway. It’s supposed to be like this. He is supposed to end up with Bella, Noah with Meredith and Claudia with Shannon (the Hathaway siblings). That way, they’ll always be together. This is also the summer that Meredith introduces he and Noah to the works of Camus, and they become completely obsessed, frequently quoting him.The next summer things are changing, and Chase is still doing his best to keep his family together. His parents are fighting a lot more now, Noah is even more moody, and Claudia is out of control. To make matters worse, Chase is thinking about sex a lot. It consumes him. During one of Noah’s disappearing acts, Chase hooks up with Melinda. This is the summer when everything changes and Chase finds himself trying to adjust to how different his summers are going to be from now on.This is a book that I couldn’t stop thinking about. The story spans four summers, and with each turn of the page the reader is totally sucked in to everything Chase is feeling: His happiness, his angst and his heartache. I felt like I was his friend and I was going on this journey with him. This is a book that everyone should pick up and take with them to the beach this summer.My biggest problem with the book is the cover. I don’t feel that the bikini clad body does it justice. It kind of gives the wrong impression, because what is inside the cover is a beautifully written, coming of age story that is about so much more than bikinis.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    I'll say off the bat that this is might not be a book for everyone. Some could find the endless Camus quoting to be a bit pretentious. I can see that, but I remember what it was like to be a teenager and to be passionate to the point of irritating about my interests, so for me, this shows authenticity of character. I also felt that the 'some girls are addictive' line from the synopsis to be a bit misleading. If you pick up this book looking for a beach side romance, well, that's not what you're going to get. Not to knock romance novels, but this book is so much more than that.Each summer Chase and his family face a crisis, and the strain begins to show on the family. I think this book is about a family in crisis, with a small part of the story being about an addictive, troubled young woman (Melinda) and how she affects Chase and his brother Noah. Chase is almost obsessed with his older brother, and I can see why. Noah is a bit of enigma. I only have one sister, and when she hit her upper teens, she became a bit of an enigma herself, and she remains so to this day. I understand what it's like to be in Chase's shoes. Why doesn't your sibling want to be part of the family? Why do they want to run away? It's frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time.I could go on and on about what I loved about this book, but I'll end by saying that Invincible Summer really is the best sort of book. It's not always easy to read, and sometimes you want to smack the sh@! out of the characters, but at the same time you care so much you can't help but want what's best for them. Invincible Summer is one my favorite reads of the year so far.

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Invincible Summer - Hannah Moskowitz



Gideon keeps falling down.

He and Claudia slipped outside to the beach and were out there for at least ten minutes before my parents or Noah or I noticed they were gone. They’re greasy and gritty now with sand and seawater, so there’s no point in dragging them back inside and getting everything dirty our first night here, plus none of us feel like putting in the effort to chase them. My mother, who’s a little too old and way too pregnant to run around outside and parent them hands-on like she used to, drifts to the porch off the first floor to watch them and make sure they don’t kill themselves, one hand on her stomach, one on the railing.

Noah and I linger by the windows on the other side of the family room, our foreheads pressed against the glass. We’re moaning every time we see a particularly good wave roll by and looking at each other—maybe we should go out? Maybe we can? No.

Outside, Claudia is laughing loudly enough for us to hear. She always says she’s way too old to play with Gideon, and she’s not going to, no way, and if we want a babysitter, we can pay her. But she always ends up playing with him anyway, at least when we’re here. Here no one is too old. Except Mom and Dad. And Claudia and Gideon are the two youngest, so they get shoved together and there is no way to avoid it, even though Claudia’s eleven and Gideon’s barely six.

Dad says, Aren’t you two going out?

We can’t. Even though there’s sand stuck to our feet from the walk from the car, up the stairs, inside, and back, and back, and back, while we hauled in suitcases. Even though the carpet smells like old sunscreen. Noah and I know that it isn’t quite summer. Not yet. Summer can’t start at night, first of all, and it definitely can’t start before we see the SUV roll up outside the Hathaways’ beach house. And until it comes, we’ll wait here. That’s tradition, and Noah and I do not kill tradition. If we get here before the Hathaways, we wait.

Dad says, You boys are sticks in the mud.

Heathen, Noah mutters.

Dad’s not pregnant, but he acts like he is, complaining that he’s so tired from the drive, that he needs to put his feet up. He sits on the scratchy couch—the one with years of our sand embedded between the cushions—and complains, like every year, that the renters have moved the furniture.

We’re totally not listening.

Boys, he says. They’re probably not coming until tomorrow.

They always come the same day we do, I say.

Dad says, You’d be able to hear the car from the beach. Go outside and make sure Gideon doesn’t get dizzy.

Making sure Gideon doesn’t get dizzy is one of our family duties, along with getting Mom’s slippers, thinking of a name for Chase’s song, washing the makeup off your sister’s face are you kidding me she is not leaving the house like that, and figuring out where the hell Noah is.

Mom laughs from the balcony and reports, He’s tipping over every which way.

Claudia will catch him, Noah mumbles.

Claudia’s catching him, Mom calls in.

I can just barely see Claudia and Gideon if I crane my neck and press my cheek around the window. Noah laughs because I look silly with my face all squished, but I like seeing my little siblings, pushing each other over, spinning in circles, always getting up. I can see Claudia’s hands moving, but she’s too far away for me to know what she’s signing.

God, I can taste the ocean. I’m weak. Let’s go out, Noah.

He shakes his head and says, We’ve got to wait for Melinda and the twins. This is so weird, because usually it’s Noah trying to go somewhere—the movies, out for a run, college—and me begging him to stay, to wait, though I never have a specific thing for him to wait for.

Noah, Chase, come sit with me, my father says. You’ll still be able to see the headlights, I promise.

This is enough of an excuse for me to abandon our stakeout. I give Noah a little head jerk, but he frowns and, instead of staying where he is, shows how disappointed he is by heavyfooting into the kitchen to put away groceries. He could not act more put-upon if it were his job. Whatever. I join my father on the couch and tuck myself under his arm while he strokes my hair.

I’ve just barely closed my eyes—the grain of the couch against my cheek, Noah’s malcontented grumblings in my ear—when I see the headlight glare through the windows and through my eyelids.

Noah, they’re here!

We run barefoot across the street to the Hathaways’ and maul Melinda, Bella, and Shannon as soon as they step out of the SUV. Their parents laugh, pushing back their sweaty bangs, hauling duffel bags out of the car. Shannon pulls out of my hug and taps his fist against mine. He sticks his hand in my hair. Welcome back, soldier, he says.

Welcome home, Shannon.

Can we make s’mores, Mom? Bella asks. She’s clinging to one of Noah’s arms, which is kind of weird. I wrap the hem of Noah’s shirt around my finger until I have a good enough hold to tug him away from her.

He’s not even paying attention, because Melinda is milling by the other arm. She’s nineteen, older than Noah, and so thin that she always looks like a part of her is missing and the rest of her might be about to go find it. Her long fingernails close the gap between her hand and Noah’s wrist. I’ve seen Claudia do the same grip when she wants Noah to do something.

Melinda is his sister in a different way.

Of course we can, Mrs. Hathaway says, with a laugh like a string instrument. You boys want to get your family here?

Noah says, Chase, run and get everybody.

I sprint across the street and straight onto the beach. I’m in the sand for the first time this summer. I always forget how cold it feels on my feet. Claude!

Claudia’s wearing her first two-piece bathing suit. She bought it around February, when they put the first bathing suits on the racks, and she’s been clamoring to wear it ever since. I pretty much hate that some company thinks her preteen body is capable of being sexualized, and that this—this night, this beach—is the time and place to do it. She screams, Chase! and tackles me into the sand, and she’s a child no matter what she’s wearing.

Melinda and the twins are here, I say. Get dressed and we’ll make s’mores.

But Claudia’s already running across the street. Gimme a shirt, Mom! she yells, and Mom tosses down some old T-shirt of mine. Claudia doesn’t stop running as she catches it and pulls it over her sweaty hair.

Gid! I yell. He’s deaf as a board, but he’s still spent all six years of his life getting yelled at. He’s watching me, asking me with his eyes and his hands where Claudia went.

Across street I sign to him. Come here. Don’t fall down. My ASL sucks, but the light’s so bad right now it doesn’t matter. Gideon runs over to me and I sign hold my hand before we start across the street. Either he sees this or just holds out of habit.

At the Hathaways’, we make s’mores on the grill, pushing down on them with the spatula until they hiss. I sit with Shannon at the Hathaways’ picnic table and we try to fill each other in on our lives since last August. During the year, I always feel like there are a million things I need to remember to tell him, and now nothing seems important but our siblings and our summer and the smoke from the grill.

Shannon keeps asking about my family—mostly Claudia and the baby yet to come—and I’m trying to pay attention, but my eyes keep going back to Bella. Was she this tall last summer? Maybe that’s why she was hanging off of Noah. I’m still waiting to hit my growth spurt. But I’m the one who’s her age. I hope she keeps that in mind.

I respond to one of Shannon’s questions about Claudia with a quick, I always forget how old she is, and then clear my throat. So what’s Bella been up to?

Shannon looks over at his twin. She dances in circles in the spots of moonlight that break through the Hathaways’ awning. Her bare feet glitter. They’re white and pointed, like something off a fairy.

He smiles. "She got the lead in the Nutcracker this year. It’s his turn to ask about someone. So how’s Gideon?"

Gideon’s hugging on to Mom’s leg, watching Claudia, probably wishing she were talking to him because she’s the only one of us who signs well. The rest of us really only pretend we can, but, then again, so does Gideon.

Deaf, I say. Melinda?

Grumpy. And she dyes her hair a lot. She’s always sighing and mumbling about the universe.

But right now Melinda’s at the corner of the balcony, talking to the dogs. Mom? she says. I’m taking the dogs out for a run.

Her mother is by the grill with my parents, where they’re laughing over a few beers, throwing coals down to the sand, touching Mom’s huge stomach.

Shannon says, Chase? How’s Noah?

I’ll come with you, Noah says, with a glance Melinda’s way, and he has the dogs unclipped from their leashes and free in no time, and he’s gone, chasing them across the street and onto the beach. I listen for the sound of them splashing in the water, but they’re too far away. I am getting a headache, listening this hard.

I try to think about Bella again, and I don’t answer Shannon, but his father asks me the same question when I go over to the grill to collect my s’more. He claps me on the shoulder and says, Noah excited for college?

I want to tell him Noah doesn’t really get excited, but I don’t know how to describe my brother to someone who’s known him just as long as I have but doesn’t understand him any better. So I smile. It’s so dark now, but the coals and the stars illuminate my siblings and Shannon’s siblings and our parents and make us all look permanent and important.

I say, He’s kind of quiet about how he feels.

Yeah. Did he run off with Melinda?

I guess so.

My parents exchange looks, like they were expecting Noah and Melinda’s flighty romance to take a hiatus this year, or something.

Noah does not ruin tradition. I could have told them that. And Melinda is his summer. More and more every single year.

So I just say, He runs off a lot.

Mr. Hathaway laughs and says, Man, your brother’s a flight risk, isn’t he? He serves me a s’more and says, Still playing guitar, Chase?

I grin and look down.

They drag their old guitar out so I don’t have to run home, and I make up chord progressions while Bella sings along in this ghost voice that makes me hyperaware, like my whole body is made of fingertips. They smile at me in that way adults do when they’re drunk that makes you feel not so much younger.

We carry the plates into the kitchen, where the lights dazzle us into submission until someone has the sense to dim them. Once all the dishes are cleaned and stacked, the adults convince us to run down to the beach and try to find Noah and Melinda.

He’s up to his waist in the ocean, the Hathaways’ two dogs swirling around him like they’re trying to create a whirlpool. My brother is the eye of his manufactured hurricane.

Get in! he yells, and none of us needs to be told twice.

The six of us splash in after him, screaming at the cold water, screaming at each other, screaming at every single foot of empty where the sky is and we aren’t. Bella’s on my shoulders and I’m twirling her around, Melinda’s holding her breath for as long as she can, everyone’s always yelling, Where’s Gideon? and pulling him out from underneath a breaking wave, yelling, Where’s Noah? and realizing he’s swum halfway out to sea.

Whenever there’s a split second of silence, we can hear our parents across the street, strumming the old guitar, laughing, clinking their beer bottles together.

Eventually my brother the flight risk comes and holds my head underwater until everything swirls, and, when I come up and sputter and blink, everyone’s skin is shiny and spotted from the stars. Bella and Claudia are running around on the sand, throwing handfuls at each other, shrieking, and Melinda’s squeezing the ocean out of her somehow colorless hair, her legs absolutely sparkling.

I want to be exactly this old forever.

Y’all right, soldier? Shannon asks me, his voice raspy from the salt.

I nod and count heads. There’s Claudia, Gideon, Melinda, Bella, Shannon … there’s everyone but Noah, who somehow managed to disappear in that split second I wasn’t watching him.

So I look at Shannon and smile, and I try not to care, I try not to worry that my brother will leave me for good, because nothing is as permanent or important as the first summer night. Bella’s voice puts mine to shame, but I sing anyway, until Shannon dunks me underwater. When I come up, I hear everyone’s laugh—Shannon’s and Bella’s, as identical as they aren’t; Claudia’s, trying to be a woman; Gideon’s—that haunted sound that he doesn’t know he’s making—and Melinda’s. Twinkling into Noah’s ear as he swims back, back to her and not to me.



I’m sticking to the sheets with sweat, and the smell of Noah’s sandals attacks my face. It is so summer.

At home, we each get our own rooms, but here, Noah and I share, even though there are enough rooms for us each to have our own. Part of the feeling of summer depends on waking up when he wakes up, or putting on a shirt gritty with sand and sunscreen that might not even be mine.

Claude and Gideon used to share too, but yesterday Claudia decided she wants her own room, since she’s a woman now. Dad and I are both sure she’s going to end up crashed on Gid’s floor, listening to the weird noise he makes when he sleeps.

Noah’s already dressed, rubbing sunscreen on his arms. His muscles wrap around him like extension cords. Dad’s making waffles, he says.

I sit up and rub my hair. It’s pretty thin, like a baby’s or something, and right now it feels like I have more sand in my scalp than hair.

Our family’s divided in half between the blonds—Dad, Claudia, and me—and the brunets—Mom, Noah, and Gideon. The new baby will break the tie, provided she really is the last of the McGills. Our parents promised no more kids after this one. Which is good. I mean, I love my big family, but this is getting out of hand. I can barely name them all in one breath as it is.

I say, How was your night? because Noah didn’t get to our room until late last night.



A very important night in the life of Noah, if I do say so myself.

Okay, I want details. Graphic ones. Possibly pictures.

He makes a face. Breakfast.

You’re not going to tell me?

Right now, I am telling you that it is time for breakfast, you lazy asshole. Get thee to a waffle.

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