Monday, June 22, 2020

Review: A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry

Acclaimed author Lois Lowry's first novel, A Summer to Die is a poignant and perceptive tale of love and tragedy.

Meg isn't thrilled when she gets stuck sharing a bedroom with her older sister Molly. The two of them couldn't be more different, and it's hard for Meg to hide her resentment of Molly's beauty and easy popularity. But now that the family has moved to a small house in the country, Meg has a lot to accept.

Just as the sisters begin to adjust to their new home, Meg feels that Molly is starting up again by being a real nuisance. But Molly's constant grouchiness, changing appearance, and other complaints are not just part of a new mood. And the day Molly is rushed to the hospital, Meg has to accept that there is something terribly wrong with her sister. That's the day Meg's world changes forever. Is it too late for Meg to show her true feelings?

Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 10th 2016
by HMH Books for Young Readers
4.5/5 stars

Having never read a Lois Lowry book before, for some reason I was drawn to this one. Judging by the title you can get a feel what this book is about. This is also the author's debut, first published in 1977.

I went in with an open mind but at the same time bracing myself as the story developed and I got to know Meg and her sister Molly. Written in 1977 one must remember what times were like back then, especially when mixing children, illness and hospitals. Definitely not the openness we see today.

Sisters and a heartbreaking summer pretty well sum up this story. It’s up there with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in terms of the emotional impact it left on this reader. A Summer to Die is a well-written book with a pretty serious subject matter for a younger child.  It's an authentic look at two sisters doing what sisters do -  bicker, draw lines and are best friends (but not always). It had that coming of age feel as Meg navigated that summer with her camera focusing on relationships and making new friends.

The author notes tell what inspired the author to write this story making it all the more endearing and heartfelt. I have both Number the Stars and The Giver waiting patiently on my TBR pile, hopefully this summer.

This book was part of my 2020 Reading off my Shelf Challenge.

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