WHEN I WAS SUMMER by J.B. Howard

WHEN I WAS SUMMER

Age Range: 12 - 16
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nora and her fellow band members are heading in their van to perform at an elite club in San Francisco, but Nora also has secret, hopeful, ulterior motives.

High school junior Nora is already an accomplished bass player and the only girl in a four-member band called Blue Miles. Her opportunity to join her band mates playing the Magwitch has come at a price; she has reluctantly promised her adoptive parents—high-end professionals—that in return she will do an internship in Washington, D.C., over the summer. Abandoned by her birth parents as a toddler named Summer, the olive-skinned, black-haired teenager—who is curious about her ethnic origins—has imagined that she is the child of now-famous musicians who had to give her up when they were just starting out. Nora cleverly, secretly plans the band’s van trip from Huntington Beach to San Francisco so it coincides with towns offering possible leads for her birthparent-seeking detective work. Skillful storytelling interweaves the protagonist’s passion for music, her unrequited love for a fellow band mate, and such issues as teen alcohol abuse, socio-economic differences, career choices, toxic relationships, and—of course—the nature versus nurture debate. Characters and dialogue are believable and inclusive of various ethnicities and sexual orientations. Nora’s combination of grit, humor, and vulnerability compels readers to join her on her journey of self-discovery.

This bass player’s coming-of-age story keeps a strong and steady beat. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 30th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-451-48020-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019




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