Blau's debut novel, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, is a delight.
This coming-of-age story follows 14-year-old Jamie as she grows up in 1970s California. Jamie is dealing with a lot of firsts: first loves, first dates, first kisses. She lives with her hippie parents Allen and Betty, who frequently host the titular pool parties, as well as aura parties and exorcisms. Then there are the drugs and her mother's penchant for walking around topless.
Blau manages to capture Jamie's emotions in such a way that you feel you are riding the rollercoaster of adolescent life with her. The book had my stomach in knots - especially when Jamie is asked out by the hottest boy in school.
The novel had me nodding in agreement and reminiscing about my own experiences as a 14-year-old - going to beach parties, falling in love with hot surfers, basting myself in baby oil and comparing tan lines with my best friends.
Think Puberty Blues set in Southern California.
Blau's writing style flows beautifully so you will glide through this book and not want to put it down.
So, get out your crochet bikini, whack on your favourite Jimi Hendrix tune and enjoy the ride.
Causes Jessica Blau Supports
Baltimore School for the Arts, 826DC, CityLit Project.