Summer of the Gypsy Moths
Summer of the Gypsy Moths
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Sara Pennypacker
ISBN 9780061964206
Balzer & Bray/ HarperCollins, 2012.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: coming-age friendship loss sara-pennypacker summer summer-gypsy-moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths
by Sara Pennypacker

Sara Pennypacker's (the Clementine series) moving story of a pivotal summer on Cape Cod explores the growing trust between two opposite girls forced to mature before their time.

Narrator Stella, who's almost 12, comes to live with her great-aunt Louise after her grandmother dies and her mother heads off to parts unknown. Louise takes care of the summer cottages for George Nickerson on Cape Cod. Stella loves the water, Louise's blueberry bushes and how everything has its place in Louise's house. The orderliness reminds Stella of her beloved grandmother, Louise's sister. Louise also takes in an orphan named Angel, to keep Stella company, but the two are "oil and water." When the girls get home from school one day to discover Louise dead in front of the TV set, however, they must band together. Determined to avoid family services, the girls hatch a plan to pretend Louise is laid up with a broken ankle and run George's cottages themselves.

Their scheme involves episodes of laughter and poignancy, as the girls' teamwork creates a mutual respect. Where Angel once made fun of Stella's meticulous ways, she starts to see the value of placing things where they belong; and for her part, Stella begins to ease up on her rules. Pennypacker creates adults as compelling as her two young heroines, who eventually figure out where they belong. Like Clementine, Stella's quirks and offbeat humor make her real and lovable.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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