Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Silver Meadows Summer

Otheguy, Emma. Silver Meadows Summer
April 30th 2019 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
ARC provided by the publisher

Carolina is not happy to move from Puerto Rico to upstate New York to live with her Tia Cuca, Uncle Porter and cousin Gabriella. The family has little choice, though, when her father loses her job and her mother's job as a middle school teacher isn't enough to keep the family afloat. Gabriella is welcoming, but Carolina is leery about her cousin's teenage attitude and her gang of friends. Having to hang out with them at a summer camp at a nearby farm does not sound like a good idea, even though Carolina will get time to do the artwork that she so enjoys. Camp isn't too bad, though, and she makes friends with another artist, Jennifer. They even find a small abandoned cottage on the property, and manage to sneak off and make it their own, although the owner of the farm is very insistent that campers not leave the designated paths after the accidental death of her husband. Carolina really wants to help her family fit in, but it's hard when her parents are struggling, and they all have to get along with Tia Cuca's family. Carolina misses Puerto Rico and feels a bit out of place in New York, especially since Gabriella has forgotten her Puerto Rican roots. The farm is due for some changes, and while these don't make many people happy, they are inevitable, just as so many things in Carolina's own life are.
Strengths: The differences in cultures was particularly well done, since it involved members of one family who all have slightly different experiences. There is very little middle grade literature out there with Puerto Rican characters that doesn't have a West Side Story feel to it, so I was very glad to see this. Summer camps are a big trending topic, and this was a nice twist on one, with some shades of suburban development.
Weaknesses: There is not a lot that happens, which is something my students seem to dislike in books that aren't super sad. I'm hoping that the Puerto Rican connection will help them be interested in Carolina's story.
What I really think: I really enjoyed this, especially since it has a character who has moved from a different environment into a new one (and the house is NOT haunted!). Carolina's story is an interesting but quiet one. It put me in mind a little of Hilton's Full Cicada Moon for no particularly good reason. I think I will purchase this one, but it will need more hand selling than some titles.

Ms. Yingling

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