Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

Published: Balzer + Bray, imprint of Harper Collins Children’s (April 24, 2012)

Recommended Age Level: 8 & up

In a nutshell: Eleven year old Stella is living with her great aunt Louise who owns Linger Longer Cottage Colony a  small summer rental company on Cape Cod. Stella is only living there temporarily, at least that’s what she keeps telling herself while her mom is “getting it together”. Also living with her aunt for the time being is Angel, a foster child the same age who wants nothing to do with with Stella, due mainly to the fact that the girls couldn’t be more opposite of one another. But when great-aunt Louise unexpectedly dies, the girls quickly devise a plan to keep the Linger Longer Cottages managed throughout the summer so they don’t have to go back into the system.

Amidst the comedy  of the the girls trying to hide Louise’s death, the Summer of the Gypsy Moths is more than meets the eye. It’s clear early on that this novel is as heavy as it is light. Stella continually mentions her mother’s flighty nature. She brushes it off each time, but her mother is more than just flighty. The reader soon learns that she is downright neglectful of her daughter and a father that is completely absent. Angel on the other hand is an orphan with hopes of one day living with her aunt who  is working on gaining custody of Angel. Histories aside, the girls do their best to maintain the cottage business for the summer and in their work and their hiding the deceased Louise, they find strength in each other.

There are many complex issues at play in this novel, but it doesn’t take away for the charm and humor. It’s a perfect balance, really. Just like Stella and Angel turn out to be.

Perfect for:  The tween who likes reading books about friendship, finding one’s identity, or a little comedy in their realistic fiction. Books like Three Times Lucky, Waiting For Normal, and  So B. It.

Don’t take my word for it: NY Times


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