The summer of 2000 should be an idyllic one for June, spending it alongside Vermont’s Lake Champlain, but her mother has decided to wed her partner, Eva, under the state’s newly enacted civil-union law.
The 12-year-old doesn’t mind much that her mother, MJ, is a lesbian, but she preferred life with just the two of them. Besides that, Eva isn’t subtle about her relationship with MJ, and that’s attracted negative attention from some local people opposed to the new statute. They begin boycotting the family business, a marina that also sells the pies June and her mom love to bake. To protect her from public interest, MJ tells June she can’t enter a pie in the local fair, a competition the girl has eagerly awaited. Although her best friend, Luke, and the town librarian provide emotional support, June remains conflicted over her mother’s relationship and local reaction to it. Unfortunately, debut author Gennari portrays those opposed to the civil-union law as a group of misanthropic cardboard characters disrupting the library and offering inappropriate, unwelcome advice to June. This black-vs.-white depiction of a polarizing topic pitches the story to the choir rather than providing a complex and emotionally satisfying exploration. A dramatic, somewhat unlikely climax brings a ready resolution to most of her issues.
A one-sided exploration of a timely and important subject falls short, failing to plumb the potential depth of the issue. (Historical fiction. 10-14)