About the Book

Title: The Summer Invitation
Published: 2014
Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Cover Story: Outfit Change
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Talky Talk: A Bit More Y and a Little Less A
Bonus Factors: New York City, Tasty Business, Daddy-Long-Legs Minus the Creepiness
Relationship Status: Vacation Buddy

Cover Story: Outfit Change

This cover is pretty accurate: two young girls in pretty dresses, gallivanting around in New York City. But it’s a little different than the cover on my ARC. The original solid blue dress on Franny (the younger girl) seems like a better fit for the New York wardrobe she ends up with, but both dresses are still a far cry from the Peter Pan collar shift dress that she buys. Valentine’s, on the other hand, can be as sartorially inaccurate as it wishes to be, because WANT.

The Deal:

Franny and her older sister, Valentine, have been invited to spend the summer at their Aunt Theodora’s place in New York City. The shopping, the food, the boys; obvs, the girls say YES, even if old school Aunt Theo’s insistent on them learning how to be proper young ladies during their stay.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

BFF Charm Big Sister with Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All's face

At fourteen, Franny is caught in that awkward phase of not a girl, not yet a woman. She has a lot more self-awareness than most people her age (OK, me at her age), but she’s still trying to form her own identity by emulating grownups that she admires — which is the kind of behaviour that becomes less endearing the further you’re distanced from it. Franny and I are just at really different stages of life right now — for one, I use words like “different stages of life” — but I’ll still try my best to nurture her emerging personality.

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

There’s a bit of vicarious swoon from Valentine’s love live, as well as that of the girls’ chaperone, Clover, and Franny eventually finds a teensy bit of romance of her own. But in the paraphrased words of the pun-tastic Carrie Bradshaw, this book is about an entirely different man: Manhattan. (I REGRET NOTHING.)

Talky Talk: A Bit More Y and a Little Less A

Charlotte Silver really captures the beats of what a girl in her early teens sounds like. Points for authenticity, but Franny’s voice is just so young. Or, maybe more accurately, mine is just so old and always yelling about kids staying off of my lawn. Either way, Silver’s writing transports me back to those tweenage years, but in a manner that I’m not necessarily eager to re-experience, y’know?

Bonus Factor: New York City

Overhead view of New York City skyline

NO DOY. I actually read this book before my own visit to NYC, which amped up my already sky high excitement for the trip.

Howevs, there’s this sort of weird portrayal of Franny and Valentine’s hometown. Which: sure, New York can make a lot of places look bad in comparison. BUT. The girls live in freaking San Francisco. True, New York does have a different energy, but the opinions of some of these characters would have you thinking that the girls were from middle-of-nowhere East Bumfuck (#EastCoastBias).

Bonus Factor: Tasty Business

Tapas Spain

While Franny stays away from the big tourist attractions (Aunt Theo’s orders), she visits plenty of real and tasty places, like Bemelmans Bar and Lady M — the latter of which I can personally vouch for, tastily speaking. Thanks for the rec, Book!

Bonus Factor: Daddy-Long-Legs Minus the Creepiness*

Aunt Theo has actually never met Franny and Valentine, with mail being her preferred and only method of communication with them. Currently indisposed in Paris, Aunt Theo puts them under the care of her protegée, Clover. There’s also a dash of Auntie Mame in how Aunt Theo wants the girls to start living life.

*Anyone who’s read Daddy-Long-Legs will know what I mean. And anyone who hasn’t should omg read it already.

Relationship Status: Vacation Buddy

Book, I had fun exploring the streets of New York City with you. But ours is a friendship that belongs to a specific time and place, so let’s not tarnish it with promises to write each other that’ll go unfulfilled. You’re not really my type and I’m not really yours, but the magic of Manhattan brought us together for one fateful summer read.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Roaring Brook. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). The Summer Invitation is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.