The Summer List

A Novel

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Pub Date 26 Jun 2018 | Archive Date 02 Jul 2019

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In the tradition of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, The Summer List is a tender yet tantalizing novel about two friends, the summer night they fell apart, and the scavenger hunt that reunites them decades later—until the clues expose a breathtaking secret...

Named a Best Book of Summer by PopSugar, Coastal Living, Family Circle, and The Globe & Mail

Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.

But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart…

Mesmerizing and unforgettable, Amy Mason Doan’s The Summer List is about losing and recapturing the person who understands you best—and the unbreakable bonds of girlhood.

The Summer List is a sparkling debut novel filled with nostalgia that will make you long for your childhood friends and carefree summer days.” —PopSugar

*Don't miss Lady Sunshine, Amy Mason Doan's next novel that Elin Hilderbrand calls "a delicious daydream" and Laura Dave calls "a fantastic summer read." Available June 29, 2021.
In the tradition of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, The Summer List is a tender yet tantalizing novel about two friends, the summer night they fell apart, and the scavenger hunt that reunites them...

Advance Praise

“This is a lovely debut by Doan, exploring themes of motherhood, daughterhood, and first love with tenderness and humor. The writing is fresh and charming, a perfect read for anyone who spent her teenage years reading the racy bits of cheap paperbacks out loud to their best friends.” -Booklist STARRED review

"A trip down memory lane becomes a hunt for long-buried secrets in Amy Mason Doan's gripping and poignant debut about the bond between two compelling outsiders. The Summer List is an evocative tale of family, first love, and the unique and lasting gift of a friendship formed in girlhood." -Meg Donohue, USA Today bestselling author

"There's not a word or plot line out of place in this fabulous debut about two girlhood friends from a small lakeside town who reunite as adults to try to salvage their broken relationship. Dive beneath the surface and you'll find a complex and finely wrought story as full of mystery and vitality as the lake itself. These characters and their stories are going to stick with you for a long, long time." -Meg Mitchell Moore, author of The Admissions and The Captain's Daughter

"With its exquisite detail, The Summer List wouldn't let me go, and the unexpected ending gave me chills. An irresistible novel of friendship and home." -Jennifer S. Brown, author of Modern Girls

"A tender novel about friendship lost and rekindled, and uncovering the truth of the past. Equal parts bildungsroman and homecoming story, The Summer List is an opportunity for a second chance at love and a healing journey to repair estrangements before it's too late." -Polly Dugan, author of So Much a Part of You and The Sweetheart Deal

"In her mesmerizing debut, Amy Mason Doan challenges everything we think we know about family and forgiveness. Readers will be swept up in this haunting story of buried secrets and lost love."
-Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House

“This is a lovely debut by Doan, exploring themes of motherhood, daughterhood, and first love with tenderness and humor. The writing is fresh and charming, a perfect read for anyone who spent her...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781525804250
PRICE CA$21.99 (CAD)

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Featured Reviews

I struggled to put this book down. The author beautifully wove together the past and present, leaving me wanting to know more about the characters and the secrets they held. The detailed descriptions and 80s references allowed me to step back in time and picture the lake and characters, as though I'd been there. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fun read, a little nostalgia, and a reminder about the things that really matter.

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I enjoyed this story of friendship, love and mystery. The writing was strong, the characters intriguing and the setting so well drawn out. I can't believe this is a debut!

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THE SUMMER LIST surprised me with its depth. Based on the cover, I expected a fairly light women's fiction novel. As it turns out, this story about Laura and Casey is multi-layered and complex with some pretty dark secrets. The way the author plants hints throughout the story line and raises questions in the reader's mind is masterful and really kept me anxious to find out what happened in the past and what would happen in present day. In many books that go back to the narrator's childhood I confess I'm tempted to skim the childhood chapters. Not so with this book. I felt like I needed those past chapters in order to understand what was going on in the present and why Laura felt the way she did about Casey, the lake, and JB. The friendship between Laura and Casey seems realistic -- flawed and yet deeply meaningful. I liked how the Epilogue wrapped things up too. It was a nice breather, if you will, after some of the twists and turns toward the end. I will definitely want to read other books by this author!

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This is a wonderful book about the friendship. The characters were all so complex and interesting. The story just flowed along and kept my interest that I couldn’t stop reading. I hope to read more by this author.

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I REALLY loved The Summer List and fell in love with the characters from page one. A truly heartwarming story of two childhood friends who have a falling out as teenagers but are brought back together by a scavenger hunt. Great debut novel!

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I was given an advanced copy of this book and it did not disappoint me at all. The book had me hanging until the end and I admit I shed a couple tears. This is an excellent book about friendship and how no matter how far we travel we always come back together like nothing separates us. I highly recommend this book to family and friends. I also plan to purchase a copy when it releases.

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Laura and Casey become the best of friends at a young age. They hold secrets between them, spend countless hours together and blossom into young adults. Then something happens when one of them over hears a conversation and the friendship dies over several years. Casey’s Mom endeavors to bring the girls back together through one of her well known scavenger hunts, but is it too late for the friendship to be rekindled?

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I really loved this book about friendship. Two friends separate and reunite 17 years later. Lots of mystery. Beautifully written. It's seldom that you find a book about adult friendship that's written at such a deep emotional level. I was drawn in to this writer's style from the first page and I am very picky.

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Lauren and Casey were best friends, extra emphasis on "were." They shared adventures in their beautiful California lakeside town, told each other's secrets. But a betrayal tore them apart, and Lauren seeks a new life elsewhere, as far away from Casey as possible. Fast-forward seventeen years, and these two come together again. Fate refuses to let things go, and soon Lauren and Casey have to face their past, and a revelation that may make them or break them for life.

This is such a beautiful story. I pictured the California breeze and the calming effects of a lake on a lazy summer day. But this isn't some light and fluffy summer read. The story is intricate and engaging, the characters complex and conflicted, and the revelations are dark and relatable. This isn't just a story about friendship either; it also focuses on the toxicity of human relationships, and the things we do to hurt one another. The Summer List should be on everyone's summer reading list (it'll be out in June), and I give this book five Strawberry Refreshers, with extra caffeine.

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I was grateful and honored to be able to read an advanced copy of this fast moving, dialogue-driven story that takes you back to those bittersweet coming-of-age days. The characters are so real and dynamic; you truly relate to both their joy and their pain. The descriptions of the Tahoe area of northern California and the beauty of the lake draw you in with vivid clarity. The story explores the special ties between mothers and daughters, girls and their best friends, and the experiences that bind them. With plot twists up to the very end, this book keeps you reading to uncover the mysteries of these women’s lives—just like a scavenger hunt. A thoroughly enjoyable read! I'll be anxious to read Amy Mason Doan's next book and many more to come!

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This wonderful story brought me back to my childhood in a small town. The awkward early teen years on the skating rink doing the "Hokey Pokey" and just hoping a boy would ask me to skate during a slow song. This book shows the special bonds of friendship during those teen years, when you're so unsure of yourself and you just want to be accepted. To have that one special friend means everything in the world.
It's obvious from the beginning of this book that these women aren't friends anymore and hadn't spoken in many years, but someone wanted to bring them together again. I couldn't imagine the deep, dark secret that tore these two best friends apart.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book and didn't expect such a spectacular ending. Believe me, you can't guess what's coming! I highly recommend this awesome book!

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Fantastic debut! S*** gets real in this book. You might condemn me for using such an overused, vulgar expression but I honestly cannot describe this book any more succinctly. Even after the revelation of the secret past, readers still read on. The characters are rich and diverse, with community conflicts that don’t overshadow our main characters. It’s about teenhood bffs: almost everyone can relate

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I really loved this book and was drawn to it from the first page and felt compelled to review. The characters resonated with me and I became invested in Laura and Casey's friendship from start to finish. As a child of the 80's, I had fun with the references from that era, and can visualize exactly what songs I would want to hear on a playlist if this were to become a film! But I also think my college aged daughter and her friends would appreciate and be entertained by this smart novel. I am very impressed by this debut and cannot wait to read more of Ms. Doan's work. A must for your 'to- read" lists, and book clubs!

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