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The Summer I Got a Life Hardcover – November 10, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Andy is pumped that his freshman year is over and his vacation is about to begin. Then his dad's promotion changes everything. Instead of Hawaii, Andy is spending two weeks on a farm in Wisconsin with his somewhat odd, but well-meaning, aunt and uncle. Once there, though, he finds that things aren't so bad, particularly when he spots "the most incredible-looking girl he has ever seen." After a disastrous first impression (Andy runs into a lamppost and drops ice cream all over himself), they meet and Andy discovers that an accident at age four has left Laura confined to a wheelchair. Her indomitable spirit and optimism captivate him, and for the next two weeks they are inseparable. This is an engaging novel filled with life lessons, a little romance, humor, sports, and fraternal love. Laura's disability is dealt with matter-of-factly and doesn't dominate the story or her relationship with Andy. The characters are fresh and memorable, the teen voices are authentic, and the plot moves along at a good pace.—Kelley Siegrist, Farmington Community Library, MI
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Review

"Andy's mishaps with custard and cows left me laughing out loud! Mark Fink peels back the curtain on the mind and heart of a teen boy, and despite what Andy believes, he's a smart, funny guy any girl would love to have as a boyfriend. The Summer I Got a Life is a guy book that girls will love." --C. Leigh Purtill, author of Love, Meg

"...makes for a nice change of pace from romances that feature relationships fraught with angst, abuse, or vampires." --Booklist

"...This is an engaging novel filled with life lessons, a little romance, humor, sports, and fraternal love....The characters are fresh and memorable, the teen voices are authentic, and the plot moves along at a good pace." --School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: WestSide Books; 1st edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934813125
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934813126
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on December 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Andy Crenshaw, 15, is about to have a summer he didn't expect. He lives in the shadow of his good-looking, athletic older brother, Brad, and they don't get along. Lately they only agree on their excitement over their upcoming trip to Hawaii.

But the family's plans change at the last minute, packing the boys off to rural Wisconsin. They'll be stuck with their wacky, free-spirited aunt and uncle--on a farm with no cable TV and Internet.

Things start looking up when Andy scores a date with Laura, a cute teenage local celebrity pianist, and even Brad's impressed. Laura's amazing: besides her late night jam sessions at a local jazz club, she's the funniest, little-bit-crazy girl Andy's ever met. He's shocked at first to see her in a wheelchair, but nothing stops Laura--her killer bowling skills leave Andy in the dust.

Meanwhile, Andy and Brad share a series of misadventures and narrow escapes that move their brotherhood to a whole different level. It all adds up to a summer no one will soon forget.

Although the paranormal and fantasy stuff is my usual favorite, it is always refreshing to read a straight forward romance or coming-of-age story once in awhile....especially if it is unique and well written!

Andy is a likable character with the normal amount of angst for any healthy teenage boy. He has a self-described love-hate relationship with his brother (with emphasis on the "hate" most of the time) but underneath it all you can definitely see the love they have for each other.

There are also some genuinely funny situations in the book starting with the plane trip to Wisconsin, anyone who has flown on a plane will feel for Andy when he sees his seatmate coming down the isle!
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By bjhippie on December 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In his sophomore offering, author Mark Fink has given us an engaging story about an especially memorable summer vacation in a teen boy's life. As in his first effort, "Stepping Up", this book is to be commended for themes that are NOT found in the story, namely: family dysfunction, anti-social behavior and vampires. The main character, Andy, is not plagued much by teenage angst; instead, he shares his self-reflections and self-discoveries. The characterizations of Andy's friends and family members are colorful, modern and relatable. As in the first book, the theme of the bond between brothers is portrayed in a refreshing and realistic way.

"Summer" has the additional theme of a teenager's first love, but with unexpected plot twists. By being both humorous and touching, this book has the rare advantage of appealing to both teen boys and girls. I'm hoping that some forward-thinking producer will discover this book, and make it into a movie. Maybe Selena Gomez could be cast as Laura.... I wonder who should portray Andy ?
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Format: Hardcover
Andy's parents are going on a business trip, and instead of leaving Andy and his older brother alone, the two are sent to rural Wisconsin to stay with their slightly nutty aunt and uncle. Andy is not happy at first, but then meets Laura, who is an excellent pianist who happens to be in a wheel chair. The two hit it off, which gives Andy something to do for two weeks other than fight with his brother.

My son loved this book. Andy is a delightful character, and the romance is right on target for middle school and high school boys. The book starts on the last day of school, and Andy's description of the levels of popularity came right out of my son's mouth. It was the writing and the anecdotes that really made this. When Andy's brother runs away, Andy and his uncle enlist the help of a trucker with a load of chickens to pick him up. A pig gets loose in a Victoria's Secret Store. Laura is an absolute delight, and her budding relationship with Andy is perfect.
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Format: Hardcover
Andy's family vacation to Hawaii gets cancelled then he and his much cooler older brother end up on a Wisconsin farm to live with their kooky aunt and uncle for two weeks--an eternity when you're without cable TV or Internet. I especially loved the banter between the two brothers and watching them evolve into real friends. When Andy is introduced to Laura, I felt the sparks fly right away and found Andy as utterly charming as he was clueless about dating a girl who's a year older and also happens to be in a wheelchair. With a generous dose of humor throughout, Mark Fink hit all the right chords in this tender, first romance.
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