The Forget-Me-Not Summer: Silver Sisters, Book 1

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Forget-Me-Not Summer: Silver Sisters, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Sisters grow closer away from home in smart coming-of-ager.

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age 8+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A glimpse of summer life on Cape Cod, with some information and vocabulary about clambakes and operating a sailboat. Some information about child actors in Hollywood, auditions, and what goes into putting on a community talent show. 

Positive Messages

Be open to new experiences, new places, and getting to know relatives who are new to you. Be true to yourself. You can live without your cell phone and TV. Sometimes parents need to pursue their own dreams. Be loyal to your family no matter what. Write what you know. It's important to consider the environmental impact of a building project on a community and its wildlife.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zinnie is smart, creative, and usually upbeat, though she often feels she lacks a special talent like her 12-year-old sister, Marigold. Her feelings are often hurt by Marigold, but she doesn't let it get to her most of the time. She feels the anxiety of a middle child who feels she's being overlooked, and she's able to process those feelings in a play she writes. Aunt Sunny is warm and wise and teaches the girls a lot about love and life in a subtle way without ever being preachy. Local boy Peter is a nice kid who's a good influence on self-absorbed Marigold. The girls' parents are absent for most of the book but loving and supportive of their daughters.


In one scene, 5-year-old Lily wanders off at the beach, and there's fear that she'll drown in the ocean.


A recollection of a stage kiss as not counting as a first kiss. A scene where a real first kiss happens, but it's not described. A sweet, wholesome romance between tweens.


Marigold is obsessed with her smartphone, fashion, and making it in Hollywood and overly impressed by the trappings of wealth and fame she gets to see up close when she encounters a pop star/teen actress.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Leila Howland's The Forget-Me-Not Summer is an engaging story of three sisters from Los Angeles -- age 12, 11 and 5 -- who spend three weeks on Cape Cod with their Aunt Sunny, getting a taste of small-town life. The girls experience culture shock and can't wait to get home -- until they start making friends and solving some of their own problems. This is the first in the Silver Sisters trilogy. The sequel, The Brightest Stars of Summer, came out in May 2016.

User Reviews

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Kid, 11 years old June 7, 2018

One of my favorites!

This is one of my favorite books, it really captures the element of being with your sisters far from home. Each charecter has some talent for something, Marigol... Continue reading

What's the story?

As summer approaches, three sisters have their world turned upside down when their parents send them from L.A. to Cape Cod to stay with their Aunt Sunny for three weeks while their film-editor mom and screenwriter dad are working on separate projects elsewhere. There's no TV, cell service, or friends from home in this land of clambakes and sailing. And, horror of horrors, they all have to share one room. Protagonist Zinnie Silver, 11, is a middle child who feels overlooked compared with her cool TV-actor sister Marigold, 12, and her adorable, attention-getting 5-year-old sister, Lily. Zinnie finally sees a chance to make a difference by helping bring back the town's talent show and writes a play for Marigold to star in. But ambitious Marigold seems to care more about impressing a young Hollywood star in town than helping her sister shine. Will Zinnie be able to step out of Marigold's shadow? Will Marigold realize what a great guy down-to-earth local boy Peter is? Will ocean-shy Lily conquer her fear of the water? Will Aunt Sunny move beyond her grief and open her heart to new love? They've all got a lot of room to grow in three weeks. 

Is it any good?

This warm, nostalgic tale of summer growth and sisterhood is an engaging read with well-drawn characters, a nuanced, multilevel plot, and a classic, colorful setting. The kids' issues and arguments seem realistic and relatable. Even though most kids don't have a sister who's been a character on a TV show, the sibling squabbles and conflicts over selfishness and loyalty; the summer crush and first kiss; and the sense of feeling out of place when far away from the familiar all ring true. And fun-loving Aunt Sally provides a gentle guiding influence without being judgmental or becoming a cliché.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about siblings. What's special about the bond that sisters have? Is if different from the one brothers have? Do they argue more or less?

  • Why are books and movies about summer experiences so popular? Can people really change and grow in only a few weeks?

  • What does The Forget-Me-Not Summer have to say about our fame- and celebrity-obsessed culture?

Book details

  • Author: Leila Howland
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publication date: May 5, 2015
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Available on: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle
  • Last updated: May 29, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age and family stories

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