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Last year I joined a book club with some of the ladies I got to be really good friends with after moving back to the Midwest from Texas. This past month we decided to take a whole year and read children’s/MG lit. We did several YA books earlier this year and it helped us decide to veer from adult literature for awhile which was fine by me!
First up is…

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

"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 settle down. The 
only obstacle in her plan? Angel,
the foster kid Louis has taken in. 
Angelcouldn'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."

source: book jacket

Author:Sarah Pennypacker | Website
Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher:Balser + Bray
My Interest: Book club choice
Source: Bought
Age Group | Genre: MG| realism
Series: No. Beautiful standalone.
Pages: 275

When I found out this was August’s book blub pick, I was so excited. I have had Summer of the Gypsy Moths on my to-read list since it came out in April. Can I just tell you right now it is a wonderful book! Pennypacker’s writing is beautiful, and she has a way of weaving her words throughout the novel where she’ll talk about something, and then come back around to it. Her novel makes a full circle which is a beautiful thing in the literary world.

I don’t want to give away ANY spoilers with this book because it’s imperative that you find out everything as you read, but I will tell you that this is a heart-wrenching book as you read it from an adult perspective. Stella’s mom has practically abandoned her with her Great-Aunt because she just isn’t cut out to be a mother, and Angel is a foster child who has lost both of her parents. The girls themselves are looking for something–love, someone to want them, friendship. But then something terrible happens and they end up clinging to each other through the summer. It’s a book that shows us how kids can grow up way to fast when they are forced too.

Another character, George, is a tiny-bit unbelievable (you’ll understand when you read it) and that was the only real issue I had with this novel. Some talk surrounding the book is that it’s inappropriate for a classroom or even for kids to read, but I don’t think so for the latter part at least. I don’t think I would teach this book, but I would recommend it to a student or child who has either grieved in life, or who has gone through the foster care system. Pennypacker also weaves a lot of humor into the novel, and I think kids will walk away with more laughs and some deep thoughts about life rather than focusing on the issue at hand in the novel.

It’s a beautiful, metaphorical novel that will leave you clinging to the characters as you close the last few pages. It is one that I will definitely come back to again.

Final Thoughts:

[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]

Hopeful reading!