THAT FERNHILL SUMMER by Colby Rodowsky

THAT FERNHILL SUMMER

Age Range: 10 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

A racially mixed girl with deeply estranged relatives spends the summer with her persnickety grandmother and her two cousins from the white side of the family. Kiara, 13, has never met any of her mother’s kin. Then Kiara’s grandmother, Zenobia, who banished Kiara’s mother after she gave up painting to marry a black man many years ago, falls ill. Kiara and her mother rush to the family’s Baltimore home, where Zenobia shocks everyone by recovering. In an effort to get to know her maternal relations, Kiara, along with her two first cousins, stay on, make friends and work together to find Zenobia an assisted-living situation. The setup is ripe for psychological fireworks, but after a promising start the story fizzles dramatically. Zenobia is the conflict engine, but she’s so over-the-top that the reader begins to discount her. And despite glimmers of insight and acceptance, she never really warms up. While this choice may be realistic and psychologically astute, it makes for an emotionally unsatisfying story. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 9th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-37442-2
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2006




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