Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths
By Sara Pennypacker
Balzer + Bray, c2012. 275 pages. Realistic fiction.

After her flighty mother abandons her, 12 year old Stella goes to live with her great-aunt Louise in the coastal northeast. Louise also opens her home to a foster girl named Angel. Stella and Angel feel rootless and broken, but under Louise's care, they have a new opportunity to heal. When she unexpectedly passes, the girls don't know what to do. Out of fear, they decide to bury her in the backyard. They hide her death from the residents of the small town, and begin working (in Louise's place) as housekeepers for the local vacation cottages. Stella finds much to fill her days, including maintaining Louise's beloved garden- which is threatened that summer by gypsy moths. Both Stella and Angel grow in friendship and independence.The vacation cottages' owner George becomes a guardian and ally to the girls, even after discovering their secret and helping them out of their predicament. Though the premise of this book may seem bleak, is is beautifully and thoughtfully written. Sara Pennypacker has crafted a uniquely touching novel. There is a thread of suspense throughout, which casts a shadow over the promising life the girls are carving out for themselves. Overall, a lovely statement on finding home and family whatever your circumstances may be.

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