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The Hidden Summer Hardcover – June 13, 2013


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The latest in The Imaginary Veterinary series includes bonus writing, art, and science activities that will help readers discover more about its featured mythological creatures. Activities are designed for the home and the classroom. Learn more about the author, Suzanne Selfors
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (June 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803738366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803738362
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-7-In contemporary Birmingham, Alabama, sixth-grader Nell has been coping with her mother's emotional volatility and neglect, adjusting to a sequence of stepfathers, and having only alternate-weekend contact with her preoccupied dad. Loving grandparents and a best friend have helped, but now she and Lydia are forbidden to see each other because of a disagreement between their mothers. Nell convinces Lydia to deceive their parents into thinking they are going to remedial summer school; instead they spend their days at an abandoned golf course, setting up camp inside a huge dinosaur statue on the putt-putt green. But a rift develops between them when they discover a homeless family living at Hole Nine, and Nell is drawn to the mother's kindness and interest in her. Lydia leaves, and when Nell helps a boy during a Fourth of July sparkler fire, she begins to confront the reality of her situation and to recognize the steps she must take to face the challenges of her life. The first-person narrative, if sometimes self-conscious, still effectively conveys a strong sense of place and the conflict of a sympathetic protagonist, but some plot elements strain credibility and most characters are insufficiently developed. Nevertheless, readers will be gratified that Nell's resolve and courage in ultimately standing up for herself result in a hopeful conclusion.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

For Nell, the end of sixth grade should mean the beginning of long summer days with her best friend, Lydia, not with her troubled mom. So when their mothers quarrel and Lydia’s mom refuses to let her hang out with Nell, it’s time for a drastic plan. After faking a required summer-school term for Nell and a free camp for Lydia, they spend long, hot days together on an abandoned golf course near their homes. All is not idyllic, even in the bizarre mini-golf structure sheltering an otherwise homeless but relatively happy family. Concrete details help bring the unusual setting to life, while Nell’s home life and her mother’s emotional instability fall more clearly into perspective the longer she stays away. This realistic novel is narrated by its sympathetic protagonist, who struggles within the broken and barely mended family she has while working to create a more supportive network beyond it. Grades 5-8. --Carolyn Phelan

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diane on July 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the tone of the story. The characters and challenges were real, and the sense of adventure and uncertainty that characterizes this age group was palpable. I thoroughly enjoyed this author's latest work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bhammom on July 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Both of my daughters read The Hidden Summer and loved it. The book has well-developed characters that the kids understood, cared for and now miss. As well, the setting of an abandoned putt-putt course fits every kids' wildest imagination while introducing a deep and thought-provoking theme. A great summer read for age 9+.
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Format: Hardcover
One thing I notice is that in books, a lot of kids’ parents are dead. Or they’re missing or on vacation. If they are around, the parents are kind and wise and do things like braid your hair and play board games with you. In books, parents aren’t bad unless they’re stepparents. (That’s not fair, in my opinion. I’ve had several stepparents, and some of them were very nice.) Real parents are nice to their kids.

That is not my experience.

Nell’s thoughts in The Hidden Summer by Gin Phillips (page 13), sum up the “mother problem” that is in a lot of middle grade fiction. I loved the observation that the parents are missing, and in fact, this whole story is how Nell and her best friend Lydia escape for the summer. They’re sort of 9 to 5 runaways, inventing excuses for their summer-long absence, as a means of dealing with their own mother problems.

Nell’s mother is not really abusive, but she does have angry outbursts, and she doesn’t seem to like Nell at all. Lydia’s life seems perfect — perfect house, perfect mom — but it’s all about appearances. Lydia’s mom also seems indifferent about her being around or not.

I loved the idea of the adventure of packing food and supplies and having a getaway hangout. It reminded me a lot of one of my all-time favorite childhood books, Mandy by Julie Andrews.

This novel read a bit more like an exciting adventure than these others which are more introspective. In fact, while I was consulting the book for my review, my 4th grade son (who isn’t drawn to quiet introspective books) said that it sounded good after reading the back. Because it’s not quite so deep, it is one that is easily accessible to the younger 4th graders of the middle-grade reading set, even though the girls are 12, and in spite of the fact that my public library shelved it in the YA section.
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By Amy on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Was a little mysterious, just the kind.of mysterlious adventure a tween dreams of having. I would totally recommend it for any and all tweaks.
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By Altaff on September 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
most of the books sucks in my opinion only the ending was worth it
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