A Summer to Die
by Lois Lowry
Summary: Meg has a love-hate relationship with her sister Molly. In some ways she worships the ground she walks on, in others she’s completely jealous. While Meg is smart and incredibly talented in photography, Molly is older, popular and beautiful. When their family moves them to the country their differences are highlighted even more by the fact that they now have to share a room and Molly starts getting sick. While initially it was just another one of the things that bugged Meg about her sister, she eventually realizes just how serious the illness is. A Summer to Die is essentially a story of life – starting, ending and all the mess in between.
Review: A Summer to Die is surprisingly well written, considering the number of other storylines that are similar (think My Sister’s Keeper in some respects). Lowry’s ability to articulate the experience of losing someone you love goes beyond the average dying family member story. The insight that she is able to give her main character Meg could only come from having experienced something similar, as only those of us who have lost someone can really understand. The story is more about Meg as she comes to terms with the whys in life than it is about death, and in that way the story is very much about hope and growing up. Her relationship with her neighbours and the birth of Happy also offset the sadness as the reader realizes that often sad endings have joyful beginnings. The other characters (William, Ben, Maria and Meg’s parents) add much flavour to the story as they impact Molly’s and Meg’s lives in positive and reinforcing ways. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and strongly recommend that it be included in a library collection because of the popularity of this type of story, the wonderful way that it is written and because the themes and message are still very relevant to young reader’s today.
If you like A Summer to Die, you might also enjoy : Remembering Mog by Colby Rodowsky, Liza’s Star Wish by Diane Stevens, Time to Let Go by Lurlene McDaniel
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