Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Summer I Learned to Fly

The Summer I Learned to Fly
By Dana Reinhardt
224 pages
Middle School+

Drew Robin Solo is expecting to spend the summer at her mom's cheese shop, helping clean, cut cheese and make pasta with the wonderful Nick Drummond, the laid-back surfer that works for her mom.  She also has her pet rat Hum to watch over and her dead dad's book of lists to pore over.   While not the most exciting of plans, to Drew, it's life and perfection.

One night, Drew realizes that Hum is missing from his usual spot in her backpack. While frantically looking for Hum, she meets a boy, Emmett, behind the cheese shop.  He sits, feeding Hum the rat pieces of leftover cheese and talking to him. Drew talks with him, and noticies he has a small scratch on his check. As they talk, they start find more in common than they realize. 

This begins Drew's most amazing summer, full of adventure, new friends, worries and carefree afternoons.  But, can she find out what Emmett is really doing in her town?  And what's up with the silver car and what does it have to do with Drew's mom?  And above all, can this little girl really learn how to fly?

So, this was simply amazing.  I'm usually not big into realistic fiction (if you couldn't tell), but I had the hardest time putting this down to do other things.  The story telling is excellent, Drew's voice coming through strong and clear.  It's simple enough that late elementary kids would enjoy it as well, but I'm setting it for middle school more just for age interest.  The things that Drew thinks and feels, I think middle school kids will enjoy more than the younger ones.

This book is all about Drew discovering not only the world around her, but also discovering truths about herself as well.  She has to change, make decisions, break out of her shell, and sacrifice things that she holds dear.  There was a spot near the end that she had to sacrifice something very near and dear to her in order to accomplish something else.  That moment almost broke my heart.  I think the reader really starts feeling for Drew, understanding her perdicaments, and inwardly urges her to go forth into this new teritory she faces.

Another huge theme in this book is perception versus reality, with truth tied in there as well.  Drew has always seen things one way, and when Emmett arrives, he completely changes some of those perceptions.  He really opens her eyes to not only the "real" world, but also to the amazing possibilities that she could never see for herself. 

Overall, great book!  Highly recommended to most kids.  While I didn't tag this if boys, I think the right boy will enjoy this as well as girls.  I would recommend this to ages 12 plus.  Read this!!!!

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