FTC Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sarah Pennypacker
From the back cover:
Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.
But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family.
I love Sarah Pennypacker’s Clementine series. I was curious about this book which is rather darker and targets a slightly older reader.
I don’t want to give too much away, but if you are an adult about to read this book, be sure to suspend disbelief before you start reading. The girls deal with the tragedy in such a way that doesn’t really seam believable. But then four young children running away and living in a box car doesn’t seem believable either. (I love The Box Car Children by the way.)
What I liked about the book: I really liked the characters. Angel is prickly, but lovable. I really loved Stella. You can tell that she wants to love her mother, but that deep down she knows her mother is a flake. I really felt for Stella. She doesn’t have many friends and all she wants is order in her life. I found her addiction to Hints by Heloise endearing. I liked how Pennypacker made her seem older than her years while at the same time giving the reader glimpses of the young girl searching for a home. I enjoyed reading about how the girls spent their summer taking care of the cabins and going about their day to day activities. At times it was almost possible to forget that tragedy had struck early in the story. (Though every thing does keep coming back to that one event.)
What I didn’t like about the book: I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like. Some readers (parents) will not like the choices the girls made when tragedy struck. It is a tad bit callous, but overall the story is very clean read. There is no drugs, sex, or violence and it has somewhat of an after school special (for those of you who are old enough to remember those) happy ending.
This is a book I can easily recommend to my older readers (especially the girls.) I have added it to my list of books to order for the school library.
Recommended for 4th Grade and up!
Reading Level: Not an AR book as of May 17, 2012
Mrs. Archer’s Rating: 5 of 5!