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Book Review – A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland

Sunday Fowler is the middlest of middle children from Middlesburg, Middletonia, Middletown. At 11 (almost 12!) she is too young for her two older sisters, and too old for her three younger brothers. Everyone in her family either dismisses her, forgets her, or takes her for granted. In fact, in the first couple of chapters, they manage to leave her behind at a gas station, drive for two hours, and never realize she is gone. And she never tells them. Typical middle child ‘peacemaker’ behavior.

I was so pleased (once I got past the two hour abandonment, which frankly left me sobbing) to find that, although A Summer of Sundays contains almost everything I’ve come to expect and be left bored by in a middle grades novel, the author has instead turned what is fairly typical into an engaging story that is sure to resonate with children. Sunday Fowler is determined to leave her mark on the summer and be ‘recognized’ – Lindsay Eland definitely left her mark on this reader.

What worked for me in this book:

The characterization was top-notch. Even the minor characters were fully realized. The different members of Sunday’s family were at once both recognized ‘types’ and fully realized characters. The family dynamic was healthy and realistic. The story line was recognizable enough to follow while filled with enough unexpected twists to keep the reader’s interest.

What didn’t work for me in this book:

Ummmm…sorry. I’ve got nothing.

How I think it works as a purchase:

This is engaging, solid, realistic fiction for the 8 to 11-year-old set. There is something in it for everyone. It has broad appeal and will leave the reader to more closely examine their own world and the people in it they may be overlooking. And it will give hope and companionship to those readers in an age group that often feel overlooked. In essence, it meets the requirements to be included in my favorite literary quote from Matilda. Find it (and more about me) here.

A Summer of Sundays was just released by Egmont on July 9, 2013 and is available widely.