The Summer of May
By Cecelia Galante
Aladdin, 2011. 252 pages. Fiction.
May (short for Maeve) is an angry girl. Can you blame her? She's 13 years old, her mother is gone, and she's been ordered by the principal to attend summer school. She graffitied the dreaded Ms. Movado's classroom and, as punishment, has to repaint her room and study poetry all summer one on one with "Movado the Avocado." May's relationships with her grandmother and father are strained, and they all live separate lives though they reside together in a very small apartment. There is a great sense of pain, as they all react differently to May's mother's departure and May's subsequent outbursts. Olive, her even-tempered best friend, is the calm in the storm.
Much is revealed throughout the story, and there is some subtle foreshadowing as to the conclusion. May is flawed but her trouble-making is endearing. All the characters, including Movado the Avocado, contribute to her healing over this crazy summer. She's temperamental, but author Cecelia Galante eloquently writes a story that reveals the root of her pain. Possibly an early Newbery contender!