Sunday, December 08, 2013

Summer Stories

17701021VanSickle, Vikki. Summer Days, Starry Nights
1 June 2013, Scholastic Canada
Nominated for the Cybils by CanLit HelenK

Reenie loves her family campground, Sandy Shores, but it has fallen on somewhat hard times in 1962. Her mother is depressed and occasionally leaves home without telling the family where she has gone, but after one trip, decides that what the campground really needs is a dance instructor. She brings in the daughter of a friend, Gwen, who is a bit older than Reenie and very glamorous. Gwen isn't too thrilled to be stuck in the boonies, and misses her artsy gang from the city, as well as her somewhat famous boyfriend, who is a singer. Reenie finds Gwen fascinating, and wants to copy her clothing and her ease with boys, but is struggling through an awkward adolescent phase and finds it hard to interact with people as easily as Gwen does. To cheer Gwen up, Reenie arranges for the boyfriend to play a show at Sandy Shores, but a number of surprising issues come to light in the process.
Strengths: Strong writing and a nice sense of place make this Dirty Dancing type story a fun read.
Weaknesses: There was no compelling reason for the historical setting; this could easily have been set in the modern day and been a bit more accessible to readers.

15723152Philbin, Joanna. Rules of Summer
June 4th 2013 by Poppy 

Rory wants to get away from her mother, who is always bringing home inappropriate boyfriends and making Rory pay bills and keep the household together. In exchange for running errands, she is allowed to stay with her aunt, who is a housekeeper for the Rules, a well-to-do family with a fancy house in East Hampton. Rory is quickly put in her place by the spoiled daughter, Isabel, and for a while, has to be content with being able to live in a great house and rub shoulders with the rich. When Isabel meets Mike, whose family has a farm and produce stand, she thaws a bit toward Rory, and the two have an uneasy peace while partaking of the area social life. When Rory has her eye on one of the elite, however, will they be able to maintain their friendship?
Strengths:This has some nice "rich people" moments like The Clique books, and would have been a light, summer read for girls who like Sarah Dessen and Maureen Johnson. However...
Weaknesses: Not for middle school. Mike and Isabel take their relationship to the next level, and while it's not explicit (and I can see this series being popular in high school), it's also a bit much.

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