Middle School Monday | Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

The Summer I Learned to Fly

Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Published: July 12 2011
Genre: Coming of Age
ISBN: 9780385739542
Age Range: 10+
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Drew’s a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad’s Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom’s cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Drew’s days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he’s there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.

This book really struck a chord with me. I thought, like a lot of novels, that it was going to be about a romance. However, the love in this novel was actually about a friendship.

In this story you have Birdie, a quiet, intelligent, responsible 13 yr old who is still grieving the loss of her father. Birdie finds it difficult to find true friends because she has an odd ball sense of humour, and her favourite thing in the whole world is her pet rat. Other kids her age don’t seem to understand, or see what she sees, in her rat. When Birdie isn’t at school or playing with her rat she is working at her Mom’s cheese shop.

This story takes some interesting turns, Birdie meets a runaway and chases an old legend. The two head off on a crazy adventure that will change their lives forever and help them discover the small pleasures in life, as well as a little about who they want to be in the future. This book is full of wholesome fun without any of the sizzling romances. My only concern would be someone assuming it is okay to run away from home at 13/14 years old. Although the kids are grateful to return home, sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side!

If you like Sarah Dessen, or contemporary fiction I think you would enjoy this novel. I was pleasantly surprised.

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