SUMMER SONG by Susan Rowan Masters


Age Range: 8 - 12
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 Middle-schooler Etta May has lost plenty in her life. Her mother left her with her grandparents shortly after she was born, her grandmother died of cancer last year, and her grandfather, Gent, is dying of emphysema. Gent has lived well, pouring his all into the roses in front of their tumbledown trailer. He misses his wife, and he's determined not to die the way she did, plugged into machines in the hospital. It falls to Etta May to make sure Gent's wishes are respected, and she does, getting some unexpected help from her mother at the last minute. Etta May is a child of remarkable fortitude, which sometimes strains credibility. Less-than-perfect readers will wish for more cracks in her stoicism, and may find her growing acceptance of her neglectful mother a bit premature. The novel's strong points are Etta May's relationships with Gent and with her friend, Quentin. The dialogue is believable, and flashes of humor enliven what could have been a grim plot. Masters (The Secret Life of Hubie Hertzel, 1990) has created a story that in language, setting, and situation will remind some of Cynthia Rylant's Missing May (1992). (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1995
ISBN: 0-395-71127-4
Page count: 137pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1995