The premise: Stella is living with her Great Aunt Louise while her mother "pulls things together." And Stella likes it with Louise . . . Louise is stable. Except that Louise took in a foster girl--Angel (who's no angel). The three of them, Stella, Louise, and Angel, will care for the garden, the cottage where Louise lives, and four vacation cottages for the summer--together. But when tragedy strikes, Stella and Angel must make it through--together.
What keeps readers reading: Two girls, so unalike, who learn to trust and care for one another. And not just as friends, they become like family as they endure what they do. Stella and Angel take on the jobs and responsibilities of adults to keep themselves going and to keep adults from realizing that tragedy has struck. Sorry for sounding vague. I'm trying not to spill any beans and spoil what really needs to be discovered by the reader.
What I loved: The ending. And again, I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't, but Sara Pennypacker writes the entire novel in such a way that the ending is perfect. Not perfect in the happily-ever-after sense, but in a perfect-for-this-story sense. And . . . I've heard rumors that Summer of the Gypsy Moths could be Newbery worthy. Time will tell . . .
For more middle grade recommendations, catch the links right here: Shannon Messenger's blog.
Happy middle grade reading!