Review: September Girls, by Bennett Madison

Friday, 25 July 2014

September Girls, by Bennett Madison

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Publication: April 22, 2014, by HarperTeen

Format: Paperback Edition (borrowed)

Goodreads Summary: 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.


"We have learned that we are beautiful. All of us. We are all beautiful. To those who may read this: we are more beautiful. No matter how beautiful you are, we are more. We just are. It's just the truth. We are the most beautiful. No one has ever told us otherwise."

  This book isn't for everyone. We can all see that through the many negative reviews on Goodreads. I can kind of see why, but either way, I'm against all of the hate. I really enjoyed reading this book. 

   Male-perspective? Slight amount of paranormal mixed with a lot of heart-pounding romance? Peculiar things happening? I'm in. Bennett Madison has absolutely introduced a whole new concept and level to YA fiction that almost no author has done before. This book was dreamy, racing and fresh. 

   I've been wanting to read this for a long time. Despite the low 3.01 GR average rating, I didn't care. I didn't care if I'd become the black sheep or the opposite. I just wanted to give this book a try. And turns out, I loved it!
   Sam is living a boring life. He's never really done anything with a girl, and his mom left when he was young. He's never have had change during his life, and when his father announces a vacation to the beach, Sam and his brother realize that this is going to bring the best memories of their lives. Unexpectedly, beautiful girls are everywhere. Turns out, Sam falls in love with DeeDee, one of the beautiful blondes who soon pulls back with no explanation. Sam realizes that he has to find out the truth behind DeeDee and the other girls's lives.

    This was Sam, during the beginning of the book:

   And this was Sam, towards the end of the book:

       He really lived his life through those few weeks, I must say. But in the end, Bennett Madison really did create an awesome summer romance with a twist. I don't usually enjoy mermaid books (ALMOST NEVER) but this was a definite change that made me happy. Mermaids are probably the concept that I usually stay away from, but this captivated me.

       Is it weird that I didn't even know that this was about mermaids? I knew that it was paranormal, but I expected some shape-shifter stuff. The concept surprised me, and surprises are good and petrifying at the same time. 

       The flaw that this book really had was its weirdness all throughout. The book itself was really weird. The characters were strange (especially the girls who were very obsessed with lust and each other) and the idea was too. It had its moments where I just wanted to go, "Mind-f*ck much?" because Madison resembled this idea in a strange motion. I must say that he carried everything on better by the end. 

        The plot was good. Simply good. It definitely was a race throughout. So much was happening in the middle and a lot of mystery was added. I got pretty freaked out in the end, because Sam himself went a little mad. The book itself was fast-paced and easy to read. (AND LOOK @ THAT BEAUTIFUL COVER, THOUGH.)

         Sam was a hilarious character. He was witty and mysterious at the same time, and very steamy and hot. I fell for him immediately and my love didn't let go even through the end. 

          The girls, including DeeDee, were somewhat strange. Alright, we all knew that. I wish that Madison would've made them a little less weird. I didn't see them as heroes. Instead, they seemed to be villains who didn't give a shiz about anyone and anything. They just wanted flings and kisses. Selfishness, much?

          By the end, I pretty much really enjoyed this book. It had its flaws and weirdness, but I really like it and definitely recommend it, but not for everyone, as you can see from the negative reviews. 


  1. The excerpt you provided for this book made my head swirl with all the "beautiful" words in it. :p Glad you enjoyed the book despite it being pretty much hated on. I'm not really familiar with the book but it already emanates weirdness from where I'm sitting and it piqued my interest so I might try this one if ever I felt the need to read something weird yet fresh. Plus, I haven't had any luck with mermaid books at all so it's exciting to see if this one would work for me. Lovely review, Michelle! :D

  2. LOL, YES! I chose to share that quote because it was utterly strange. It was taken from the girls's POV, and when I saw it, I was all wide-eyed. o_O

    I wasn't familiar with the book either until a few months ago, when the cover captivated me. Definitely pick this up when you're in the mood! I don't have any luck with mermaid books at all. It's so hilarious when you see how I frustrate with that concept, but I always give it second chances. This and Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly are the only two mermaid books that I enjoyed, haha.

    Thank you so much, Sarah! xx

  3. I almost bought this last week. I think I still am going to. There are always negative reviews out there for every book. I don't usually let it stop me from reading it, especially if it's something I think I'll enjoy. I tend to like books that are a little weird anyway. Not everyone does, and that's ok. I like your review and you've convinced me to pick this up next time I'm out :)

  4. Yes! I always try to read books that I like whether the reviews are good or not, but of course, there are people whose opinions I trust, so I take that into consideration, too. Weirdness can be the new "cool" sometimes, and this had the possibility. Thank you, and enjoy!


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