Cicada Summer

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Andrea Beaty's first novel has been called "compelling fiction that will be a hit with young readers" (Horn Book

Magazine). Since her brother died, Lily has pretended to be brain damaged, and no one knows her secret. That is, until a troubled girl named Tinny refuses to leave her alone. But Tinny's meddling soon gets Lily into a jam that threatens their safety.

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Andrea Beaty's first novel has been called "compelling fiction that will be a hit with young readers" (Horn Book

Magazine). Since her brother died, Lily has pretended to be brain damaged, and no one knows her secret. That is, until a troubled girl named Tinny refuses to leave her alone. But Tinny's meddling soon gets Lily into a jam that threatens their safety.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Olena, IL, is small town where everyone knows everyone. And everyone knows about the tragic accident that killed Pete Mathis and left his 12-year-old sister Lily speechless. The townsfolk think Lily is brain damaged, but Lily is keeping quiet on purpose. She believes that she's responsible for Pete's death and bears an enormous amount of guilt. Her life is pretty routine, and Lily is sure no one will discover her secret. But then Tinny comes to live with her aunt Fern. The girl lies, steals, and bullies Lily. Tinny doesn't talk about her family much, but everyone knows that her father robbed a bank and is on the run. When Tinny goes missing, only Lily knows how to find her. But Lily must break her silence. Maria Cabezas reads Andrea Beaty's debut novel (Amulet Books, 2008) in a steady, well-paced voice, conveying both Lily's dispassion and high emotions. In the print version, alternating chapters are flashbacks and are printed in italics. In the audio version, there is no change in voice or pacing to indicate that Lily is thinking back to before Pete's death, making it a bit confusing for listeners. Still, this is a satisfying listen.—Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN
Children's Literature - Renee Farrah
After a family tragedy, Lily stopped speaking. Most people do not even believe she can read anymore. Lily does not mind that they think this, and her silence makes her observational skills rival her favorite detective's, Nancy Drew. But when Tinny, a new girl, discovers Lily reading, Lily is terrified her secret will be told. To make sure Tinny does not say anything, Lily begins watching the girl; Lily dislikes her more everyday. Tinny lies and steals, and then blames it on silent Lily. The adults in Lily's life are oblivious to Tinny's misdoings, and in Lily's opinion, replace their affection for her with affection for poor, motherless Tinny. As summer goes on, Lily discovers Tinny is not as strong as she acts. But when a stranger from Tinny's past makes an unwelcome visit, only Lily knows how to save her. However, she will have to relive the tragedy that silenced her in order to rescue Tinny. This is a dark book that is very emotional. It deals with heavy issues such as witnessing a death, experiencing flashbacks, dealing with grief, and learning about forgiveness. Reviewer: Renee Farrah
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6- In this evocative debut novel, 12-year-old Lily Mathis has attempted to remain invisible to the 117 residents of Olena, IL, since the death of her brother. For two years she has not spoken a word to anyone, not to her dad, or the kids at school, or the general-store owner Fern, who keeps talking to her even though the child doesn't respond. Lily has been swallowing a secret that has burdened her ever since Pete died, but it's hard, especially after Fern's grandniece moves to town. Tinny has her own secret: she tells lies and steals from Fern, and she catches Lily up in a dangerous intrigue that threatens to harm them both unless Lily can break her silence and speak the truth. The story unfolds in alternating chapters of past and present, slowly unveiling Lily's adoration for her big brother who loved old cars and gangster movies and running through the cornfields at night, leading inevitably to the present-day climax that brings resolution to both girls' problems. Throughout the well-developed plot is Olena, where the drone of the cicadas and the rustling of the cornstalks mingle with the daily conversation of the people. The story is believable because not much happens in this small town, so when tragedy strikes, or strangers appear, or a child goes missing, it is the town that feels it, not just the individuals involved. One part memory, one part mystery, and a generous dose of atmosphere make this the kind of satisfying read that Summer Reading is all about.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Feeling responsible for her brother's accidental death, sixth-grader Lily Mathis has not spoken for two years when storekeeper Fern's niece Tinny Bridges arrives in their small town, determined to discover Lily's secret and bringing a mystery of her own. In her first full-length novel, picture-book author Beaty weaves elements from Lily's favorite Nancy Drew stories together with a moving picture of a child emerging from a shell of grief. She presents readers with a Chicago gangster, a sports car and a clue in a Tootsie Pop wrapper, but also two motherless children coping with additional losses in their particular ways. In mid-20th-century Olena, Ill., everyone knows everyone's business and adults still gather at the local store to gossip-rich territory for aspiring young detectives. Lily's first-person narrative cuts back and forth from the present day to her memories, and the details of her brother's death and the reasons for Tinny's odd behavior become mysteries for the reader to solve as well. An interesting extension for Nancy Drew fans, this may create some new ones as well. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440761843
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Andrea Beaty is the author of the picture books When Giants Come to Play and Iggy Peck, Architect, and the co-founder of the popular children’s literature blog She is the recipient of the prestigious Barbara Karlin Grant for picture-book writing from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Naperville, Illinois.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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