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SUMMER OF THE WAR by Gloria Whelan Kirkus Star


by Gloria Whelan

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: July 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-008072-8
Publisher: HarperCollins

Summers on Turtle Island have always been perfect, an idyllic escape for Belle (14), her three siblings, parents and grandparents. Then, on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything. Her dad goes to work for Ford; her mom returns to medical practice; and their teen cousin from Paris comes to stay while her father works for the London Embassy. When Caroline arrives wearing a dress and high heels, it’s clear she doesn’t want to be there. Belle, Emily (12), Nancy (8) and Tommy (10) try hard to include her in their summer fun and activities, but Caroline refuses to join in, remaining sulky, condescending and obstinate. There are two wars that summer—one remote and one on home territory—and both change the lives of everyone on the island. Radio broadcasts keep the overseas war distant, but the intensity of the familial one ties them all in knots. Their paradise of summer living loses its innocence when the harshness of war transforms the days that become bygone. Beautifully measured writing captures the smell of lake breezes, the feel of sand between the toes and the emotional ache of growing up when change is not a choice. An exceptional portrayal of how war becomes personal. (Historical fiction. 10-14)