Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Published by Atria Books
Publication date: May 5, 2020
I realize it’s not quite summer yet, but we’re getting warm and sunny weather so I thought I’d share a new novel that felt like a great beach or poolside read. Or, for right now, sitting in your backyard because you can’t go anywhere. It’s Jennifer Weiner’s new book Big Summer.
Daphne and Drue were friends of a sort in high school. They lived on opposite ends of the spectrum with Drue as the rich, blonde, mean girl and Daphne as her smart, heavy, awkward sidekick. The one who got to bask in Drue’s glow, but had to help her with school, tests, and dumping boys she was no longer interested in. After graduation, Drue went too far in embarrassing Daphne and the two stopped speaking. Now, years later Daphne has begun to carve out a life for herself in NYC as a plus-size influencer on Instagram. She’s surprised when Drue shows up and asks her to be in her society wedding on Cape Cod. Apparently, being a mean girl has caught up with Drue and she has no friends. She’ll even pay Daphne.
For Daphne this is an interesting turn of events. It feels as if she’ll finally get the appreciation and friendship with Drue that she wanted for so long. More importantly, a luxury wedding would provide a huge marketing opportunity for her Instagram brand. She accepts Drue’s apology and agrees to be in the wedding. Once at the Cape Big Summer takes a surprising turn that shifts the novel’s plot 180° from what I was expecting. I anticipated frenemies, wealthy people behaving badly, and maybe some redemption or retribution. Instead, the novel becomes a mystery—which is where I’ll leave it to avoid spoilers.
My caveat for Big Summer would be that if you’re looking for something deeper from Weiner, like her last novel, Mrs. Everything, this is not it. It is light, soap opera-ish reading—literary reality TV. For some it may feel implausible, but I like Weiner’s writing style and was happy to go along for the ride.
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