The Mending Summer

HarperCollins. May 2021. 368p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062985651.
Gr 3-7–Georgia’s daddy has always been the person she looked up to most, the person who could make any bad day better, and the person she felt safest with. But Daddy is slowly being replaced by someone different, the Shadow Man, who comes home late (if at all), talks a little too loud, walks a little too wobbly, and smells a little too sour. So when her mama drives her to her great-aunt Marigold’s country house, where she’ll be spending the summer, Georgia knows exactly why. But Aunt Marigold’s place is full of surprises, and so are the woods that surround it. When Georgia discovers a very special lake and makes a new friend, she discovers that magic is real and wishes can come true, but sometimes you have to work hard to make those wishes happen. Standish has created a timeless tale of discovery, growth, and relationships. Her portrayal of a child learning what it means to have an alcoholic family member is both heartrending and resonant, illustrating that parents can’t always live up to young people’s expectations. Georgia’s struggle with her own emotions is brilliantly conveyed; the highlight of the book is Georgia’s growth in her understanding of her own feelings and those of the people around her. Most characters are cued as white.
VERDICT A powerful story about an important topic. Recommended for all libraries serving middle grade readers.

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