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Summer of the War Hardcover – August 1, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8–The yearly summer pleasures of a Michigan cottage away from the stress of school, work, and city life are interrupted in 1942 for 14-year-old Belle and her family. Wartime has required her parents to stay behind with her father supervising the production of warplanes and her mother returning to her medical practice, covering for male doctors leaving for the army and navy. Belle and her three siblings return to their grandparents' cottage and are joined by their 15-year-old cousin, Carrie, who has been raised, following her mother's death, in Paris and Washington, DC, and whose father is in war-besieged Europe. Belle anticipates much-needed friendship and camaraderie, yet Carrie arrives with a sophisticated and arrogant demeanor, upsetting the normally simple lifestyle of her family. Whelan masterfully paints a tension-filled story of two opposite worlds colliding and clashing with one another through her well-developed principal characters. Belle's first-person narrative expresses her mixed feelings, from excitement about the arrival of a new relative to bewildered disappointment in and anger toward her unappreciative, snobby cousin. When Carrie's father is killed in a bomb raid in London, the entire family must not only come to terms with his death, but also with the mutual adjustment that permanently living with their orphaned cousin will require. Whelan aptly combines themes of war, death, loss, adjustment, and coming of age through her symbolic references of both personal and global warfare. A worthy, discussable page-turner.–Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. It's the summer after bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor, but the war seems far away on Lake Huron's tiny Turtle Island, where 14-year-old Mirabelle's family spends the summer. This year, with her parents working in Detroit, Belle and her siblings look forward to having their grandparents, and their island, all to themselves: "We never ran out of ideas. We were never bored." Then news comes that Belle's 15-year-old cousin, Carrie, will join them. From Carrie's first moments on the island, when she steps from the motorboat in high heels, Belle realizes that her cousin, while family, is a complete stranger. Raised in Paris, cosmopolitan Carrie is disdainful of the island's simple lifestyle, and her scornful displeasure acutely unsettles the whole family. Writing in Belle's authentic voice, Whelan tells a moving story, filled with smoothly inserted details, that echoes summertime's leisurely pace and firmly establishes the time and place. And in Belle, readers will easily recognize their own private struggles to sculpt an identity amid the chaos of family changes. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060080728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060080723
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,962,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Black on August 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In her newest book, Summer of the War, Whelan returns to an island off the coast of her beloved Michigan's upper peninsula, a setting which she explored in The Island Trilogy (Once on this Island, Farewell to the Island, and Return to the Island),except that her new book is set during World War II.

When the story opens, the war feels very far away as fourteen year-old Mirabelle and her brother and sisters join their grandparents at the cottage on Turtle Island, just as they have for as long as Belle can remember.

For Belle, it's as if time stands still on the island and nothing changes. And, though this year her parents have decided to stay behind in Detroit to help with the war effort, Belle hopes this summer on the island can still offer the same unchanging stretch of time as previous summers.

But war inevitably intrudes on her fantasy. It comes to Belle and her family despite the island's remote location and its natural beauty, when they receive a letter announcing the arrival of Belle's older cousin, Caroline.

From the moment Carrie steps off the boat onto the island's dock, it's like a bomb exploding, shattering the island's peace and sending sharp and painful reminders of war's destructiveness into the hearts of Belle's family and the islanders who are part of their life on the island.

The fragments pierce Belle's heart especially. She had initially looked forward to a summer with a cousin who speaks French and has seen the world. Only her anticipation turns to horror as Carrie shows her disdain for everything to do with her relatives and their provincial life on the island.

Belle tries hard to sympathize.
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Format: Hardcover
Fourteen-year-old Belle longs for summer; it's when she's free to leave Detroit and return to her family's cottage on Lake Huron. Every summer, she and her siblings participate in the timeless rituals of childhood summers: swimming, fishing, reading, and playing cards in the comfortable cottage they share with their grandparents, sipping lemonade and watching sunsets from the porch. However, the summer of 1942 is different: Belle's cousin Carrie is sent to stay with them. Despite several mentions of pertinent military developments, the story didn't feel dated as WWII (unlike other period novels such as Dream When You're Feeling Blue: A Novel, the 1940s takes a backseat here).

Carrie's arrival upsets the delicate family balance. Raised in France and used to getting her own way, Carrie appears spoiled and obsessed with fashion and society. She looks down on Belle's grandmother's cooking and is horrified to discover that there isn't even a movie theater nearby (Belle's is the only cottage on the island). Carrie rebels against the rules that the rest of the family had followed without questioning, until a tragedy forces her to reevaluate.

As with other books by Gloria Whelan (The Pathless Woods: Ernest Hemingway's Sixteenth Summer in Northern Michigan (Ernest Hemingway's Great Lakes Connection), Once on This Island (Ramos, Eugenio (Illustrator)), Northern Michigan plays a starring role.
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A Kid's Review on February 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
i would recommend this book to anyone even if your older! i think it is very fun to read! im into my second time reading it i liked it so much! i think that if you but this book you will love it! also the front cover of the book is very pretty!
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