And The Winner Is…

… Christine!  Congratulations!!

Christine you have won a signed copy of Jessica Anya Blau’s THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES.  I’ll come by your house tomorrow and give it to you. 

Everyone else who entered and shared your story from the summer when you were fourteen, thank you very much.  (I used’s List Randomizer to get the winner.)  I loved reading your comments and I did tell Jessica Anya Blau about them so she could check them out too.

Book Giveaway: Jessica Anya Blau’s THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES

This Giveaway Contest Has Concluded 



Happy Hump Day!  So, I’ve got another signed book to giveaway and this week it is The Summer of Naked Swim Parties by Jessica Anya Blau.  Many of you may remember my review and Jessica’s hilarious guest post titled Motherhood & Celebrity Penises.  Well Jessica kindly sent me a signed copy of her novel for this giveaway. 




To enter this giveaway contest, please leave a comment on this post including your e-mail address.  In addition please tell us a funny memory from the summer when you were fourteen.  It can be short and sweet or you can take this opportunity to write about a memorable moment that has been haunting you or that you love to tell and elaborate on it.  I will let Jessica know about this additional requirement in order to be eligible to win her book so she can stop by and check out your comments. 



I will run this contest through next Wednesday, October 1st at Midnight EDT.  I can’t wait to read your stories.  Remember short and sweet or type till your hearts content!

Book Review ~ The Summer of Naked Swim Parties by Jessica Anya Blau

Summary: The Summer of Naked Swim Parties ~ Fourteen-year-old Jamie will never forget the summer of 1976.  It’s the summer when she has her first boyfriend, cute surfer Flip Jenkins; it’s the summer when her two best friends get serious about sex, cigarettes, and tanning; it’s the summer when her parents throw, yes, naked swim parties, leaving Jamie flushed with embarrassment.  And it’s the summer that forever changes the way Jamie sees the things that matter: family, friendship, love and herself.

The Summer of Naked Swim Parties by Jessica Anya Blau is a time capsule from the summer of 1976, our country’s bicentennial year.  So many parts of this book are familiar yet alien to me.  Some a reflection of my life as a fourteen year old in 1989 but for the most part a fun read with subtle reminders of what being a teenager is all about. 

Daughter of semi-nudist, pot-smoking, party hosting, over-involved parents, Jamie finds being fourteen challenging.  She is the youngest of two daughters and though Rene and Jamie are no longer close, with different and conflicting views on life, they were before the hormonal teen years hit.  Rene goes off to “Outward Bound” summer camp and Jamie begins her very educational summer at home.   

Jamie’s summer schedule consists of waking, watching her topless mother bounce around the kitchen while making breakfast and spending her afternoons and evenings hanging out with her two best girlfriends.  The three of them soon begin having adventures with town boys and the dramas that come with lust/love, sex, drugs and drinking take over. 

Jamie learns about sex, already knows about pot, thanks to her parents but she’s not really interested.  She learns more about beer, discovers that just because they hang out with you it doesn’t mean that your friends will have your back forever.

One of my favorite parts in The Summer of Naked Swim Parties is when Jamie looses her virginity to her boyfriend Flip.  Though the location is a romantic, secluded beach spot with the boyfriend she knows every girl at school wants, things don’t always go as planned.  When does it really?

Blau’s dialogue flows smoothly and is clever, funny and quick.  My favorite character has to be Janie’s mother, Betty.  She is beautiful, fun loving, cooks, the glue that holds the family together and loves to make everyone happy as well as keep a high level of happiness in her life.  She concerns herself with Jamie’s newly discovered sexuality that is outed by a strange house guest.  She just wants her daughter to experience the pleasures she is entitled to, to Jamie’s horror.  Who really wants to talk about masturbation with their mom anyway?  Who’s mom actually tried to give tips on the subject? 

After a tragic accident plaques the house’s energy, Betty brings in an exorcist, the family visits a crazy family therapy session.  Then so-called friends come out of the woodwork when a (I believe) fictionalized Jane Fonda and her Senate-running husband are thrown a fund-raising party that becomes a bore-fest because there aren’t jiggling breasts and “wagging penises” diving into the pool or jumping on the trampoline in the back yard. 

Antagonists appear in many forms throughout The Summer of Naked Swim Parties.  Be it a penis, a mooching “Native American”, a disgruntled sister or a box of Nutter Butter cookies disguised as a friend, Jamie is constantly at battle with herself and her surroundings.  What fourteen year-old girl isn’t?  The Summer of Naked Swim Parties is a great book taking us back to our own summers when we were teenagers and had questions and worries about everything.  Some things never change though.  I’m still a worrier, still love to have fun and still love to make out.

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

Be sure to check out Jessica Anya Blau’s guest post titled “Motherhood and Celebrity Penises” HERE.

The Summer of Naked Swim Parties book trailer:

Guest Post ~ Author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, Jessica Anya Blau

Author, Jessica Anya Blau, has recently released her debut novel, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES.  It’s a coming of age story about a teen and her unconventional family.  Jessica has written a hilarious guest post for Planet Books and I am so excited to share it with you.  It’s laugh-out-loud funny and the tone of the post gets me even more excited to receive and read THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES.

Summary ~ The Summer of Naked Swim Parties:  It’s the summer of 1976 and fourteen-year-old Jamie has a list of worries: What if there’s an earthquake? What if the police come while her parents are swimming naked or, worse, smoking pot? What if her friends come over while her mother is cooking waffles wearing only cut-off shorts and an apron, her giant, almost pornographic breasts unbound and free? And, most pressing, what if someone dies? Jamie sees death everywhere: in the pool, on the backyard trampoline, and even on a blanket on the beach, where a piece of glass could break through and stab her. Indeed, there will be a tragedy that summer, although it’s one that Jamie hasn’t imagined. And by September, even though her tan is mahogany, Jamie will discover that the beach is not always a refuge, sex does not bring forth love, friendship can be as heartbreaking as romance, and her family– no matter how crazy, no matter how naked– may be her salvation after all.   

Motherhood and Celebrity Penises

One question I am often asked by readers of my novel, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES, is, “Have your daughters read it?!”  The question is always asked in a way that demands at least one exclamation point, as the novel is full of sex. (Most of it is uncomfortable sex that does not turn out very well for the protagonist, Jamie.  In fact—I’ll digress here—one person at a reading raised his hand and asked if Jamie ever went on to have great sex!)  The novel also has mild drug use (marijuana), alcohol (beer), and lots and lots of naked swimming.  The answer to the question is that I have let my 16-year old daughter read it (she claims she loved it) and I have not let my 11-year old daughter read it (I told her she could read it when she’s fourteen).  They both seem fine with the fact that their mother wrote a book that has sex in it—they’re big readers, they’ve read about sex before.  Also, and I’m not sure this matters much, I don’t drink, or smoke, or swim naked (although I have tried all those things in the past) and so my daughters fully understand that it is not ME, their mother, who is doing the stuff in the book, it is the character.

Now, onto my thoughts about blogging: The wonderful thing about blogs is that it is not characters we are reading about, but the writers themselves.  Blogs are like public diaries, or musings—we, as readers, take what the blogger says to be true.  Also, because they are on the Internet, blogs are more easily consumed than a book that you have to borrow or purchase, then peruse (or all-out read!), to find some tidbit that might titillate you.  A blog can be pulled up in seconds, depending on your Internet connection, and read within minutes. 

When Karen asked me to blog for this site, I considered writing about a weekend I had spent with a somewhat-famous, male, sex-symbolish celebrity (we were both guests in the same home) who did a small jaunt around the house naked and then swam naked in the pool while I, fully clothed, sat on a cushy poolside lounger reading the Los Angeles Times.  The interesting thing to me about this story, is that the celebrity had a very, very, very tiny and pale penis.  It was like a flour-white thumbtack pushed into his pubic hair.  I think a tiny penis is fine, I certainly don’t care and would never criticize anyone because they have a tiny penis (I’d hate to read the blogger who got a good gander at me strolling around naked!).  What shocked me about the penis was that he seemed to have no shame in it—no worry that I would reveal to anyone the fact of his thumbtack.  How marvelous to be so comfortable with whatever you were given at birth.  How liberating to think, “This is it! Voila!  Take it or leave it!”  I envy that poorly-endowed celebrity as I would love to be so accepting of myself, so comfortable in my own skin.  Alas, I am not.  If I leave a room naked and someone else is in that room (my husband, for example) I back my way to the door so as to spare him the view of my undulating rear.
This brings me to my problem with blogging: the easy access, the eternal life on the internet.  If someone were to type into Google Jessica anya blau tiny penis would they pull up my blog?  Would my daughters be forever ashamed because their mother wrote a nonfiction posting about a weency celebrity penis?
Let’s hope not.


You can check out Harper Collins page on Jessica and THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES HERE, Jessica’s personal web site HERE and her MySpace page HERE.   THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES is available in stores and on-line now.