Friday, July 2, 2010

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia
J Fiction
Amistad 2010
215 pages

A good read, well written, definitely young chick lit. A Newbery contender? Possibly.

Delphine is eleven, the oldest of three girls, and lives in Brooklyn with her Pa and Big Ma in 1968. She's a smart, responsible girl who always looks out for her two younger sisters. Her Pa decides that she and her sisters need to travel across the country to Oakland, California, to spend the summer with their mother. Sounds OK, except that the mother left 7 years ago, and they've not heard from her since. They arrive in Oakland, only to find out that Cecile, the long-lost mom, greatly resents their intrusion into her life. She sends them to a daily summer camp just down the street run by the Black Panthers.

Delphine is given a lot of responsibility for an eleven-year-old. Throughout the book, she handles every situation like a trooper. Is that realistic? I'm not sure that such a young child, forced to act like an adult at an early age, would be as emotionally stable as Delphine is. At first, I didn't like the mother because of her complete detachment to the girls. But that changed as I saw Delphine acting as a mom, and constantly reminding herself that her father had given her charge to "take care of your sisters". I stepped over to the mom's side after she tells Delphine "Be eleven. Be eleven while you can."

Overall, I enjoyed One Crazy Summer. I especially liked that the Black Panthers didn't change these girls. They were already strong. They could see what was right and true about the movement and who was just full of hot air.

For girls - grades 4 and up.

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