Dear Librarians: A Letter from Suzanne Rindell, Author of Summer Fridays

By Rachel Tran | June 27 2024 | NewsFrom the Author

Dear Librarian,

When I was a child, my happiest memories are of my family’s frequent trips to the library. My mom adored the library with a cheerful, vehement passion that was contagious; going to the library triggered that same Pavlovian response as “Hey kids, we’re going for ice cream”—it was a treat! At some point, other kids in the neighborhood began to ask to tag along. My mom was always welcoming. As a schoolteacher, she was a stickler about “library behavior” and about being mindful of due dates, but genuinely enjoyed bringing kids to the library. To paint a picture: We’d pile into her station wagon, then spend an hour or two of mesmerizing quiet bliss, reading cross-legged on the library floor, or picking out new books from the special displays, which always seemed so exciting and magical with their thematic decorations.

However, on one occasion, a funny thing happened. I accidentally got left behind! Between the neighbor kids and my two sisters, my mom had temporarily lost count, Home-Alone-style. But funnier still was when my mom returned in a panic… only to find me happily attending a story hour and unwilling to leave. I knew I’d been left behind, but I didn’t mind one bit—it meant more library time! I was already “home.”

In the years since, I’ve become an author and the library feels even more so like my home, as I feel deeply proud whenever I find my work living there. I truly believe that memories—like my happy memories at the library—have the power to shape the choices we make, and who we become.

Memories can also shape the stories we want to tell. My new novel, Summer Fridays, was inspired by a simple moment I once witnessed as a young adult. In October 2001, I was riding the subway in Manhattan. Less than a month earlier, the city had been rocked by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and New York was still reeling with a devastating mixture of shock and grief. I remember I was staring at one of the many missing posters taped to the window of the train I was riding, when two passengers—a man and a woman—saw each other from across the car, came together, cried, and embraced. Everyone in the train car stopped to watch them. It seemed they were having an emotional reunion, desperately relieved to see each other.

I wondered what their story might be—if they had been friends or lovers who had fallen out of touch somehow, but had thought about each other in the aftermath of the attacks. Many years later, when the pandemic hit and people were getting back in touch with old friends and loved ones, my mind returned to that mystery couple, and a love story began to unfurl.

Set in 1999, Summer Fridays is the tale of two young people just starting out in their careers, fatefully crossing paths, and playing “tourist” in New York as they find they’re both stuck in the city for the summer. While Nick and Sawyer are an unlikely pairing—with plenty of reasons why they can’t be together—they are surprised to discover that their “stolen afternoons” together are, in fact, deeply meaningful, and have left them both changed.

My memories of the library inspired me to write, and my memories of that day on the train inspired me to write this specific story—a story I am humbly honored to share with you now. Thank you for all that you do, and for being a part of this special place that so many of us call home. As for my mother, having retired from teaching (and having long ago retired the old station wagon), she is now a volunteer librarian at Rocklin Public Library in Placer County, CA.

With love and appreciation, Suzanne Rindell

Summer Fridays
A Novel
You've Got Mail for a new generation, set in the days of AOL and instant messenger banter, about a freshly engaged editorial assistant who winds up spending her "summer Fridays" with the person she least expects