Kantor (The Breakup Bible) writes a funny and intimate story of summer romance and family conflict featuring 16-year-old Kate, who wishes she could be more like the independent heroine of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Lady Brett Ashley ("without a doubt the coolest woman in the world"). But Kate's plans to spend a peaceful summer writing, reading and playing tennis go awry when her mother, wanting a temporary separation from Kate's father, whisks Kate away to stay with old friends at their summer house in Cape Cod. Besides resenting being uprooted, Kate feels uncomfortable around the friends' daughter, Sarah, who is less than pleased to have Kate tagging along. Amusingly neurotic as a narrator, Kate gradually gains confidence as she cultivates friendships with other teenagers, especially cute Adam ("Was it my imagination, or did he say big serious relationship as if it were a repugnant political party"). The changes in Kate are both gradual and realistic, as she learns painful lessons about love, her parents' failing marriage and her own needs. Her emotional journey and acute self-consciousness are likely to strike a chord. Ages 12-up. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
In the frequent battles between her parents, Kate Draper usually sides with her father, and her older sister Meg usually sides with their mother. But it is Kate who has to go to Cape Cod with their mother instead of staying home in Salt Lake City where she is taking a summer creative writing class and practicing her tennis game. The only thing Kate likes about the trip is that they will be staying with her mother's old college friends, Henry and Tina, who have a daughter a year older than Kate. But when they arrive, it is clear that Sarah does not want to spend any more time with Kate than she has to. Kate tells the story of the summer before her junior year in an often humorous and usually insightful voice that expresses a range of emotions. She is angry with her mother for dragging her off and for temporarily leaving her father. She is uncertain about her ability to attract boys, and Sarah's unfriendliness isolates her. She loves to read, and she daydreams about being the cool and beautiful Lady Brett Ashley, from Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Then she meets Adam, one of Sarah's friends, who becomes very interested in her. To protect her emotions and to seem more experienced than she is, Kate returns his interest but pretends that she does not want the relationship to go beyond the summer. By the end of the summer, much has improved in her life. Her parents have not made up, but she has developed a greater closeness with her mother, she and Sarah have become good friends, and she and Adam are planning to see each other when he comes to Utah to ski at Christmas. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Salt Lake City native Katie, 16, is planning a great summer with her friend Laura. She is registered for a fiction writing class and has scheduled daily tennis practices, activities that will keep her out of the house so that she can avoid her warring parents. Suddenly her mom announces that she and Kate will be spending the summer on Cape Cod, at her old friends' house. Although Kate is unhappy that her plans have been shelved, she looks forward to spending time with Sarah, the pretty, self-confident and super-cool hosts' daughter. Unfortunately, Sarah is clearly less than pleased to have a new sidekick. Kate determines to make the best of the situation and lands a job teaching tennis, and eventually Sarah mellows enough to be friendly and include her socially. Kate falls hard for good-looking, smart Adam, necessitating her to deal with a complicated romantic relationship while coping with her parents' possible divorce. In this engaging and satisfying novel, nothing earth-shattering happens but the dialogue is witty and readers will relate to the realistically described roller coaster of emotions of a typical suburban teenager. This is the perfect book to give to a someone who loves Maureen Daly's teen classic, Seventeenth Summer (S & S, 1981), or Kantor's earlier books.—Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
Kate's dreams of a perfect summer are dashed when her mother announces that she is taking her from their home in Utah to stay at an old friend's house on Cape Cod. While her mother receives the support she needs for her failing marriage, Kate has to fend for herself. She manages to make a few friends, find a job teaching tennis and meet Adam. At first Kate imagines a fun summer fling, but her feelings for Adam quickly become more complicated. Kate is simultaneously oblivious to the reality of her parents' situation and completely sensitive to her own emotional life. While understandable and developmentally appropriate to a point, Kate's obtuseness in the face of obvious evidence may well leave readers frustrated. Realistic dialogue and a quick pace keep the story lively, but uneven character development, unlikely plot twists and an overly familiar plot keep this from hitting its mark. (Fiction. 12 & up)