The High Season

The High Season

by Judy Blundell


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“A mesmerizing, head-spinning—and sometimes madcap-hilarious—take of have and have-nots.”—People (Book of the Week)

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE AND KIRKUS REVIEWS • “In the smart, breezy, sweet spot between Meg Wolitzer and Elin Hilderbrand.”—Entertainment Weekly

No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Located by the sea in a quiet Long Island village, the house is her nest egg—the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.

It’s Memorial Day weekend and the start of what Jem calls “the summer bummer”: the family’s annual exodus to make way for renters. This year, the Hamptons set has arrived. Adeline Clay is elegant and connected—and will never need to worry about money. Before long, she demonstrates an uncanny ability to help herself to Ruthie’s life. Is Adeline just being her fabulous self, or is she out to take what she wants?

When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie’s old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same—least of all Ruthie.

Praise for The High Season

“Blundell knows the territory. . . . Her account of Ruthie’s coming to grips with a career, a daughter and a community in flux is as touching as it is convincing.”The Wall Street Journal

“A huge page-turner . . . so compelling . . . a classic beach read, but very smart, very intelligently written.”Us Weekly, Emily Giffin’s Summer Reading Recommendations

“An acid-laced domestic drama set during one golden summer on the moneyed, beachy North Fork of Long Island.”The New York Times

“Judy Blundell wields words like an oyster knife in this shimmering story of art, money, and celebrity.”—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Before the War

“A wry, often hilarious story of a woman trying to keep it together when everything is going so, so wrong.”Real Simple

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525508731
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 181,410
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Judy Blundell is a New York Times bestselling author. Her novel What I Saw and How I Lied won the 2008 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The High Season is her first novel for adults. She lives on Long Island with her husband and daughter.

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Excerpted from "The High Season"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Judy Blundell.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide

Ruthie has the perfect life. She just has to give it up every summer.

In a beach town overrun with vacationers, Ruthie—a year-rounder who moves aside for “the summer people”—feels like a bit of an outsider. When her life is upended one fateful summer, she must fight to save everything she holds dear—her family, her house, and her career.

1. At the beginning of The High Season, Carole tells Ruthie to “Just try to be . . . a little less you.” Being herself is a theme that Ruthie constantly struggles with—what moments do you think sparked the biggest changes in Ruthie’s character throughout the novel?

2. In The High Season, we meet two types of people: the “summer people” and the “year-round people.” Think about how each of these groups live their lives and connect with one another. While the differences may be obvious, how are they similar to one another? Do you think the characters can see these similarities for themselves? Why or why not?

3. The antique watch never stayed on one person’s wrist for long over the course of this novel—first landing in Ruthie’s possession, then Lucas’s, Doe’s, and briefly Lark’s. What were the intentions of each character when they took it? What did the watch mean for each of them?

4. It dawns on Ruthie that she has not been acting like herself when she realizes how much she’s been ignoring Jem. On the flip side, Jem has also been hiding her feelings from her parents. Do you think the outcome at the end of the novel would have been different for Jem if Ruthie, or Mike and Adeline, were paying more attention?

5. Throughout The High Season almost all the characters are caught lying at some point. How does each character justify their lies? How did this affect your reading of each character?

6. Lark tells Doe that “You have to look for goodness just like everybody else.” Is this sentiment true for all of the “summer people” in the novel? What about the other characters?

7. What does Doe learn about herself through her relationship with Lark? And vice versa? How do they grow together as a couple?

8. Why would Mike say his marriage to Ruthie failed? What would Ruthie give as the reasons? Do you think Adeline and Joe end up being better partners for both characters, and if so, why?

9. Do you feel the family handled the discipline of Lucas? What lessons were learned?

10. If you were in Ruthie’s shoes, how would you have responded to Jem’s confessions at the novel’s end?

11. Which characters in The High Season get the ending they deserve? Do you think Ruthie gets a happy ending?

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