A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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