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A Summer to Die Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1983

115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A warm picture emerges of a family bound together by caring and closeness. . . . Meg's sorrow as well as her joy comes pouring out in this perceptive tale."—Booklist, Starred


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

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 what she really feels?

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (December 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440219175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440219170
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,529,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com

author interview
A CONVERSATION WITH LOIS LOWRY ABOUT THE GIVER

Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.

Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?

A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.

I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.

Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?

A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.

Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?

A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.

Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?

A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.

Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?

A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#10 in Books > Teens
#10 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Weintraub on July 7, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book in 6th grade (or so) when it first come out. It had an impact on me (I feared a friend had leukemia because she was getting nosebleeds), and I never forgot it. I reread it yesterday and realized how powerful and well-written it truly is. It's an amazing first novel (from someone who went on to write other of my favorites).
While the book rarely mentions Meg's school life (and never any contemporary friends), it still conveys a sense of her whole life. I cried for her, for Molly, for their whole family. And I was angry with the parents for not sharing the seriousness of Molly's illness with Meg sooner.
It's a keeper (and I wish I'd kept my copy!)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ashleigh Brianne Allen on November 21, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm an eighth grader, and two years ago my whole world was turned upside down. My older cousin Leigha died of leukemia. I was devastated. She was 6 years older than me, but she was still my best friend.I was given A Summer to Die as a gift shortly after Leigha died. The first time I read it, I cried the whole way through. This book was so much like my own life, that I was scared when read it. This book also made me realize that I am not alone. Other people in the world have the same problem. This book was very touching, and full of reality. Lois Lowry doesn't shy away from sad and awkward subjects. She puts them into to words to show that no one is alone in this world.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
"A Summer to Die," was a great book. It was about two girls who have to face the new challenges, changes and having to make new friends when they move out of the city. Fifteen year old Molly has always been pretty, populair, and had an easy time making new friends. Molly already has a boyfriend in the first week they move their. But it does not come as easily to Meg, her sister. She can't make a single friend, and she is depressed. Her dad sits in his study all day writing a book, her sister is her usual, annoying, self. But one day Molly is rushed to the hospital and it is then that Meg knows that something is terribly wrong with her sister. Molly comes home and has a new drug she has to take. But Meg notices that Molly's long hair is falling out, Molly is loosing weight and she gets sick again. Read this story for yourself to find out the ending.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kiesha (kiesha_n_gasparac@yahoo.com) on October 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this book many years ago and became completely immersed in it. The story was so well written and moving that it has had a truly lasting effect on my life. I am 23 now and it remains to be one of the few books that still evokes feelings and emotions simply by thinking of it. I could hardly wait to read it then and can hardly wait to read it all over now. I highly recommend it to a person of any age - it's message and values can be appreciated by adults and children alike.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Summer To Die is a very sad book, but it was great. 13 year old Meg envies her older sister, Molly, who is beautiful, practically perfect, and has a great boyfriend. One night Molly gets really sick and tells Meg to get their parents. Molly is rushed to the hospital and Meg feels as though it was all her fault. Finally Molly comes home from the hospital, but still can't go back to school, but she seems to be getting better, until one morning Meg got mad Molly was still in bed at 11 o'clock and when Molly goes to get out of bed, Meg sees something is wrong again. Molly asks that Meg not say anything about it, but she does and Molly is sent back to the hospital. Toward the end of the book Meg realizes that Molly isn't going to be coming home. Will Meg be able to tell her sister that she cares? Read the book to find out. This is a wonderful book I am sure you will like it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Summer to Die is a great book. It is about two sisters that have just moved to a new house in the country. They have finally settled in to their new home when Molly, Meg's beutiful, popular older sister starts having nosbleeds. They are a pain, because Molly gets all the attention and is constantly worried about how she looks. But when MMolly's hair starts falling out from the drugs she takes, and she gets stuck in the hospital again from a MAJOR nosebleed, Meg starts to realize what her parents knew all along. That Molly had cancer and was going to die. This is a sad but also happy book, because while Molly dies, there is a new beginning when a baby is born. I loved this book, and you will too!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 27, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Summer to Die

"It is so good to have friends who understand how there is a time for crying and a time for laughing, and that sometimes the two are very close together," announced Lois Lowery in her fictional story, A Summer to Die. Throughout this story, Lois shows how important it is to always, at anytime, love and care for your family, because you never know when it could be the end. Could you ever imagine loosing a family member? As soon as Meg's family moved to a new house in the country, she knew nothing would be the same again. Meg went from having her own room, to having half of a room, divided by a thick white line of chalk, shared with her older sister Molly.

Meg and Molly couldn't of been more different. At times it was hard for Meg to hide her jealousy of Molly's beauty and popularity. There was Molly, beautiful with wavy blond hair. Then there was Meg, not quite as pretty with glasses, and what some kids called "different." Meg loved photography, and she was very good at it. She enjoyed all the colors, lightings, and facial expressions of the photos she took. Just as the girls adjust to their new home, Molly is diagnosed with a very rare disease. Meg, her family, and some very close friends don't know how much longer Molly will live. Meg now regrets her relationship with her sister, and wishes it as better.

This book is written for the teenage soul and older minds too. A Summer to Die is a great book for someone that enjoys happy friendships, twisting events, and sad endings. This book's intriguing events pull in the reader, and hook them like a fish. Now, I will always remember to love and care for my family, because I never know when it could be the end.
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