We at Hooray for Books love Sara Pennypacker and her awesome Clementine books! Clementine’s a sassy, good-hearted heroine we can all get behind. So when the advanced reader’s copy of Pennypacker’s newest book, Summer of the Gypsy Moths, arrived, I swiped it right away.
It’s wonderful in ways I didn’t expect. Pennypacker’s signature humor and charm are here, but there’s great emotional depth, too. It’s the perfect read for the child who’s graduated from Clementine-level reading and is ready for the next step. And what a delightful step it is!
Stella is content to live with her great-aunt Louise on Cape Cod, at least until her mother gets her act together and comes back. It’s Angel, Great Aunt Louise’s foster daughter, that Stella can’t stand. But when the unthinkable happens, Stella and Angel must find a way to work together in order to stay afloat. That means opening Louise’s summer cottages and running the business all on their own. As the two girls work through the struggles and triumphs of the summer, they learn that they are more alike than they thought. Together, they are bonded by a dark secret, and gradually Angel’s aloofness changes to a sort of sisterhood.
At the end of the day, this is a novel about family, the family we are born into and the family we choose. Stella’s a sweet, lonely girl who just wants a place to belong, and (without giving away too much), in the end she’s rewarded with an unexpected but happy ending.
Gary Schmidt (Okay for Now) says it better than I: “Beneath the comedy and the suspense and the horror and the wit of this remarkable read lies the deepest secret of all: that we can learn to love each other.”
Read this great novel. Your heart will thank you.
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker; Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (HarperCollins); 15.99; Ages 9-12