Monday, August 13, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Summer of the Gypsy Moths

The cover of Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker caught my eye while browsing a local bookstore, and upon reading the jacket flap, I was hooked. Well, honestly, I was hooked by the cover, but to keep a reader reading, there has to be more than a beautiful cover, right? And this book certainly has more than an eye-catching cover. So much more. 

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!  
 

17 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book. I hadn't heard of it. Like many others you feature. Thanks for the great review.

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  2. Oh man...this sounds good. Must have this one! Thanks, Barbara!

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  3. How funny that we both featured this book today! :) I saw mention of it in a newsletter from a publisher and immediately had to read it. It had been sitting on the top of my to-read pile for a couple months and I finally got to it. I totally agree with your description of the ending - definitely perfect for this book!

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  4. That IS a beautiful cover, and it sounds like a great story. Thanks for your review!

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  5. Beautiful cover and absolutely perfect summer read.
    I may not get to it this year but it's definitely going on my list.

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  6. I'm so driven by the cover when I choose books. I also LOVE when the ending is absolutely perfect. That's something that keeps me returning to a certain author. ;) Another great rec!

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  7. Now I remember why I hesitated when I first saw this book. The tragedy you elude to, not wanting to give it away, I must have seen a more detailed review somewhere, and the premise sounded a bit gruesome, frightening? I'm not one to censor my daughter's reading much, but it did give me pause. But I'm reassured now that you and Jennifer have both read it!

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    1. Kristin, yes. It is a bit gruesome and could be frightening to some readers. But...the story evolves into something much, much more.

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  8. Sounds like a must-read. Adding it to my list. Thanks, Barbara.

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  9. I'll have to add this one to my list. It sounds like a great read!

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  10. As much as I LOVED the writing in this book, and agree that the friendship between the girls is the main point, I had trouble with the plot. I won't spoil it either by mentioning the details of the tragedy, but I found it a tad hard to swallow. Otherwise, I'd have mentioned it for Newbery too.

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    1. Joanne, I do know what you mean about the plot...and you're right on point about that. For MG readers, however, I think they could see past that or not question it like an adult reader does.

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  11. Your review piqued my curiosity, and these comments have done so even more! Will move this up my TBR list for sure.

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  12. i love when an author comes through with a terrific ending -- endings that fizzle make you feel like you never finished the book!

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  13. Sounds like kids taking charge and succeeding. I love that! Thanks for featuring the book on your blog.

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  14. Hi Barbara - I saw your comment over on the Silver Lining blog...I'm going to check out Write on Con. I write romance, but love MG and YA.

    Amy

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  15. This sounds like an amazing book. I love the way you described the ending. I haven't heard of this one- but I definitely plan to read it. I remember when I was little there was a gypsy moths summer. They were everywhere!
    ~Jess

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