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Sand Dollar Summer

Sand Dollar Summer

4.5 23
by Kimberly K. Jones

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Have you ever thought that if one thing hadn't happened, a whole set of things never would have either? Like dominoes in time, a single event kicked off an unstoppable series of changes that gained momentum and spun out of control, and nothing was ever the same again.

Twelve- year- old Lise watches her safe world fall apart when her strong self- reliant


Have you ever thought that if one thing hadn't happened, a whole set of things never would have either? Like dominoes in time, a single event kicked off an unstoppable series of changes that gained momentum and spun out of control, and nothing was ever the same again.

Twelve- year- old Lise watches her safe world fall apart when her strong self- reliant mom is injured in a car accident. To recuperate, Mom takes Lise and her bright little brother to live in a rattletrap house on the beach in Maine for the summer. Although her mother grew up there, this is Lise's first experience with the ocean. She's terrified by what may be lurking in.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
When twelve-year-old Lise spends the summer on an island in Maine with her self-reliant mother and bright, but oddly mute younger brother, an aged Indian neighbor, her mother's childhood friend, and a hurricane complicate her formerly safe world. This is Lise's first experience with the ocean. She is terrified by what may be lurking in the cold depths and confused by the ways that Maine is changing her mother. As secrets from the past start spilling out, even the solid earth may not keep Lise safe anymore. She will have to learn to go with the flow or risk falling apart in this tender, funny, and wise novel recounting the story of one family's unforgettable summer. The topic seemed boring, but the author did quite well and held interest throughout the book. An attractive cover and appealing presentation helped. Young teens are likely to pick it up. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
Children's Literature
No one can deny that life can change dramatically in the briefest of moments. Twelve-year-old Lise's view of such an event takes us through the healing aftermath of her mother's serious injury in a car accident during one summer on the coast of Maine. The town was Lise's mother's childhood home and her mother is drawn to return to it as a place of healing, both of body and spirit. Reluctantly, Lise packs up and, with her brother and the family's dog, resigns herself to a summer of exile. She and her brother are unfamiliar with and not interested in getting acquainted with the ocean or beach life. But their mother is searching for inner peace and psychic nourishment. Over the course of the summer Lise learns powerful lessons, and her mother finds that the familiar cocoon of her youth, which felt so restrictive at the time, provides answers to the question of how to go forward. This story is a fresh look at the problem of dealing with the unexpected from a child's perspective and how a family can emerge from hardship strengthened and renewed. It would be a good addition to a middle school curriculum on family life and/or social issues. 2006, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, Ages 10 to 14.
—Hazel Buys
Bonny Martens
Lise, a twelve-year-old girl, thinks her life is over when her mother moves the family to a beach in Maine for the summer. Unknown to Lise and her five-year-old brother, this is where their mother grew up many years ago. As the family deals with living in a ramshackle beach house, Lise is battling with her fear of the sea and is constantly questioning why her mother has brought them here. Friendship, family, and love are continuing themes in the first novel of Kimberly K. Jones, who lives on the East Coast and brings knowledge of the sea into her writing.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Lise, 12, is beginning to feel at home in a new town with her single mother and 5-year-old brother, a selective mute. When her mother is injured in a car accident and faces months of rehabilitation, she decides to recover in Maine, where she grew up. Lise is shocked and resentful when they arrive at Fiddle Beach and she sees their tiny rented house. And she finds that the immense, uncontrollable, and endless ocean terrifies her. She is so caught up in her own feelings that she never really acknowledges the pain and frustration her mother is experiencing, and is even somewhat jealous of the former boyfriend who enters her mother's life. But when she meets Ben, an elderly Passamaquoddy Indian who lives in the last house on the beach, Lise finds that she can tell him about her fear and the changes in her life. Ben talks to her about knowing when to fight for what is important and when to accept change. Lise doesn't quite understand until Hurricane Fern hits and she almost loses her life while trying in vain to rescue the old man. Struggling in the water, she hears a small, clear voice calling her name-it is her brother's. Jones gets right to the heart of the matter in this captivating and touching first novel. Lise is by turns irritating, humorous, and compelling, but always believable. A first-rate debut.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The secure, suburban life that 12-year-old Lise is accustomed to abruptly moves into a forced hiatus after her single mom is seriously injured in a car accident and in need of long-term recuperation. Instead of summer camp, Lise and her five-year-old brother, Free, head for Maine, the ocean and mom's childhood hometown. Feeling both resentment and genuine fear for her mother's physical debilities, Lise must adjust to the powerful sea, sand and a simple, lonely summer life. A renewed friendship between her mother and Dr. Michael, meeting Ben, an intriguing elderly Abenaki resident, and a terrifying hurricane all add to Lise's unexpected summer woes. The first-person narrative incorporates effective symbolism, using a deserted beach to bring out this protagonist's feelings of uncertainty in a new environment while lacking peer companionship. Yet, Lise experiences an awakening as she harbors her private concerns about a missing father and the mysterious muteness of her little brother. Like the ocean's dual beauty and danger, Lise realizes certain life situations are beyond control. Like Ben, she must have faith to live life as it comes. A heartfelt debut; a coming-of-age with a bit of pathos and a perilously climactic finale. (Fiction. 10-13)

Product Details

Perfection Learning Corporation
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.80(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

My brother is not your standard brother. Free is beautiful. I don't mean he is cute in the way all little kids are cute, I mean he is gorgeous. He has blond, blond hair that curls around his face, and eyes a shade of gray green I've never seen on anyone else. Free has read since he was three, played piano since he was four. My friends Rachel and Elizabeth say their younger siblings are just pains in the butt, but I think Free is cool. We play Monopoly and cribbage and backgammon together, and he's a wicked chess player. He laughs, he cries, and he hums, but he does not talk. Free is five. Mom and I talk to Free just like normal, and somehow we always know what's on his mind. When people finally realize that he isn't just supershy, they ask me why he doesn't talk. I tell them the truth: I don't know, and I don't care.

When we moved to this neighborhood a year ago, kids on the block called him a freak and yelled thingsat him, as if he didn't hear instead of speak. Those kids were a little surprised at how fast I was and how hard I could hit for a skinny girl. And if their parents called and complained, Mom made mincemeat of them real quick. Nobody messes with my mom. At least more than once.

We had moved three times in five years and I was sick of it. Sick of being the new kid and just about finding someone I could be my real self with, and then boom! Mom would get a better job and move us someplace else. I'd tried crying and screaming at her, but Mom would just hold me and rock me and pat my back. "I have to do what I have to do," she'd say. I guess we were all sick of it, because this time she'd promised we'd stay for at least five years. Pinkie-promised.

When they tested Free for kindergarten, they didn't let him in.

"He's not quite ready for us, I'm afraid, Mrs. LaMer," the woman at the Early Education Service said, a little too sweetly, tapping Free's folder with her inch-long blue fingernails.

'You mean you're not quite ready for him," my mother said, just as sweetly, reaching over to tap thefolder with her own short, unpainted fingernails. She hates it when people call her "Mrs."

So Free went to a private school, but he had to have a doctor's letter before even they would take him.

"I don't know what's wrong with him," Doctor Dan had said, "so what am I supposed to write in a letter?"

"There's nothing wrong with him," Mom said, "and you know it."

"Look, Annalise, Freeman is a very bright child, even gifted, but he's five years old and he is not verbal. That's not normal," Doctor Dan said. "I know you don't want to, but perhaps it's time to see a specialist." He reached for a pad. My mother got there first and pushed it out of his reach.

"Normal?" Mom's voice went up a notch. "He reads at the fifth-grade level, and he plays chess better than most adults. That's not normal either! Why don't those things bother you?"

"There are reasons for selective mutism," Doctor Dan said. "None of them are good: autism, schizophrenia, trauma -- "

"I bet I've read more about selective mutism than you have," Mom said. "He's clearly not autistic, he hears fine, he shows no symptoms of schizophrenia,and the only trauma he experiences is people insisting he should talk!"

Doctor Dan closed his eyes and rested his forehead in one hand. I felt a little sorry for him.

"Why must there be a label or a syndrome for every aspect of life? He's just different." Mom turned Free's shirt right side out and started to pull it down over his head. "I like different. Different is good."

My brother's knee knocked mine, and when I looked up, Free was smiling at me. It was a small smile, the one that says, "Way to go, Mom!"

Mom hardly ever gets angry, at least with us, but that day I could see that she was afraid she might boil over and ruin Free's chances at kindergarten by not getting that letter. I knew how she felt, because sometimes I feel like I've swallowed a tightly wound spring that's going to cut loose -- boing! -- any minute. If it did, I would start whirling and never stop, round and round, bouncing off walls forever. If I could loosen that spring somehow, just gain a little slack, then I could coast for a long, long time.

Free knew how my mom felt too. He went over, put his hand on Doctor Dan's knee, and looked him in the eye. I know that face. Even people who candeal with my mom are no match for my brother. Doctor Dan looked at my mother, then at me. I sent him thoughts as hard as I could. Just write the stupid letter. Doctor Dan looked back at Free and sighed.

"Okay, have it your way. The letter will state that he's perfectly healthy and there is no known etiology for his delayed speech."

Mom let go a small sigh.

"But, Annalise, you're going to have to deal with this sooner rather than later. The world will bend for a silent five-year-old, but each year from here on out it will bend a little less."

"He'll talk when he's ready," Mom said. "He'll be just fine."

Outside Doctor Dan's, we did a three-way high five.

My mom isn't much taller than I am, but she looks taller because she is so slender and muscular. She used to take us on camping trips and for long bike rides, and she taught us both how to ski and swim. When I was little, I used to tell my mother she was beautiful, but she only laughed.

"All little girls think their mothers are beautiful," she would say, and then she would kiss me. "And allmothers know their little girls are beautiful, so it works out fine."

Her jeans are only a couple sizes bigger than mine, and the thin lines of gray i n her light brown hair are the only way you can tell she isn't just my older sister. When I suggest that she dye it, she just gives me one of her that's-too-tacky-for-words looks.

"I didn't have gray hair before I had children," she'll say, raising an eyebrow. She always raises that eyebrow when she's thinking something she's too polite to say. I don't even think she knows that she does it. "I'm keeping my gray hair. I've earned every strand."

My mom is really weird sometimes.

Copyright © 2006 by Kimberly K. Jones

Meet the Author

Kimberly K. Jones is the author of Sand Dollar Summer, which earned two starred reviews, was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and was chosen by Booklist as one of the Top Ten First Novels for Youth. She lives in Monkton, Vermont. Visit her online at kimberlykjones.com.

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Sand Dollar Summer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Jessica14JR More than 1 year ago
Jessica Rogers Sand Dollar Summer By: Kimberly K. Jones Rating: 5 stars Kimberly K. Jones has written a book that gets a reader stuck in it, until they finish it. Her book is about a girl named Lise, a 12 year old girl, who is just getting used to her home in a new town. She lives with her mom, Analise, and her 5 year old brother Free. Free is very unusual. He is mute, but Lise can always understand him anyway. Lises mother gets into a car accident, which causes her to be handicapped for a long while. Lise is surprised when they move to Maine, where her mother grew up. She is not very happy, but eventually she meets and old Indian man named Ben. Ben helps Lise through a lot. She feels like she can tell him anything. Analise meets an old boyfriend who is helping the family out. He gets close to the kids, and their mom, so it feels to them like he is part of the family. Hurricane Fern hits, and Ben is lost when his little hut falls into the water. Lise tries to save him, but she gets caught up in the storm too. Her mom's boyfriend saves her. Even her mute brother, Free is calling for her. In the end, moving to Maine is a wonderful experience for Lise and her family. Sand Dollar Summer is a terrific book for people of all ages. It shows that you that everyone can accomplish more than expected, even if a little bit of help is needed. I recommend reading this book if you like reading, and even if you don't enjoy it.
tiffany57 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read! I'm not lieing, at first I thought: I'm gonna return this to the libaray because I wasn't getting into it. Boy, something was wrong with me!! :) It is such a good book! It gets good at Chapter One (LOL) and even better at Chapter two! Please buy this book, you will NOT regret it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Sand Dollar Summer. It was very interesting, and it is a great novel for people of all ages. I would definetly recommend this book.
Squid22Syd23 More than 1 year ago
Right now I am reading this book and so far i think it is great! I'm only on the 8th chapter but i still think it is great! This book has been passed around between my group of friends- first sarah, then, sam, then me. and then i don't know who i will pass it to but i do know this is a great book! u should read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are some books that never become best sellers, but are one of the best anyways. This is one of those books. This book is about how a young girl's mother gets in a car accident. Her mother is alright, but she decides to take her daughter on a beach vacation. This book has many great life lessons. I really liked it. I recommended the series below because I read the first 4 listed below and really liked them. They are about an odd family that goes on many adventures, similar to the family in "Sand Dollar Summer". The books in the series are "Saffy's Angel", "Indigo's Star", "Permanent Rose", "Caddy Ever After", and the last book, "Forever Rose".
Sarahrose15 More than 1 year ago
Sand Dollar Summer, by Kimberly K. Jones is a great book it was interesting in the begging that beame heart-felt in the end. is book is about a 12 year old girl named Lise, who lives in Maine for the summer while her mom recovers from a car accident ,Lise isnt thrilled about going. When Analise Lise's mom bumbes into her childhood friend, they start to become close again, he tryes to make Lise happy, but the only thing that made Lise happy that summer was Ben (an old Indian who lived in the house with the stilts) he told Lise about sand dollars and how there so special the day when Lise found one. But When a tragic storm hits Lise goes after her friend so does her little 5 year old brother and Lise's moms childhood friend, but do they all come out safley? The main Character Lise was okay to deal with beacuse after a while she didnt want to do the same things when her and her brother were board, she also didnt like to go swimming in the ocean ,when that was really the only thing to do. I personily can realate to Lise myself beacuse I like to go find shells, and try things new. The point of the book Sand Dollar Summer was to astablishe how little things that you dont want to do or finding out things new can turn your whole perspected differently. I think this is a good book to read if your a kid around ages 9-13 I feel this way beacuse I dont think an adult would be instrested in this type of book or any kids uder that age beacuse some parts of the book is alittle intense. I liked this book so much beacuse the main character was my age and I now know what other kids my age can deal with or how they experince something. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sand Dollar Summer by Kimberly K. Jones was very interesting. It was something that most people can relate to. The book is about a girl named Lise, a 12 year old girl, who is just getting used to her home in a new town. She lives with her mom, Analise, and her 5 year old brother Free. Lise’s mother gets into a car accident. Lise’s mom takes them to Maine for the entire summer, where her mother grew up. She is not very happy, but eventually she meets and old man named Ben. Ben helps Lise through a lot. As Lise gets closer and closer with the old man she feels like he is a part of the family. When the hurricane comes around the corner Lise realized Ben wasn’t safe she tried to save him but he was already gone. I thought the main character Lise is a very thoughtful person. I would be able to sympathize with this character. The point in Sand Dollar Summer is that you should never break rules and to help people along the way and do your best to care about people. This book would appeal to girls who are around the age of 12 and like reading novels. I feel this way because I found it very interesting and think that other girls would be very interested in it as well. I liked this book because I could relate to what was going on in the story being afraid of things and being helpful. I could picture what was going on in the story in my mind. That’s why I liked it so much.
beachbabeforever More than 1 year ago
this book is so good its a must read i luv it !!!!!! its good for any type of person all ages ! if you need books for the beach this should bee your #1 chose!!!
luv2read98 More than 1 year ago
i live in maine and wanted to find a book that takes place in maine. when i found this in my school book order i knew it would be perfect. i bought the book and loved it! it's a heartwarming and beautiful story that girls of all ages will love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Sand Dollar Summer It is about a Family that dad had left them awhile ago, so there is only the mom sister and the little boy. Lise the 12 year old girl is a crazy lonesome girl, she doesn't have very many friends. The five year old boy, won't talk, And the mom is just trying to get through everything, But one day the mom goes Togo grocery shopping and she gets in a fatal car accident. She couldn't walk she in was in a wheel chair so one day she decides she wants to go back to where she grew up at the beach. So they pack everything up, and go live in this shack house on the beach. When Lise got there she was scared to get in the water, and this guy that used to talk to her mom in the day comes and helps out with everything the cooking and driving and cleaning, the mom eventually can walk but she has to use this walking chair; Lise meets this very old guy that collects sand dollars so she starts keeping them but one day a big storm came through and they had to go to the one man's house that had helped but Lise ends up going back to the beach to try and save the old man, but while she does that she ends up getting taken in the ocean and almost drowned but her dog had saved her, but the old man had died. There is so much more to this book it was so great I could read it over and over again! It makes you think about stuff that you would never think would happen. I highly recommend it to anyone. Ashlee keel (: Barnes and noble.
sign-laguage-rox More than 1 year ago
PaigeG More than 1 year ago
Sand dollar Summer is a book written by Kimberly K. Jones. This book isn't an action kind of novel, so I wouldn't recommend this to you if you don't like books about family and growing up. Sand dollar Summer takes place in Pennsylvania in the beginning of summer. The book follows Lisa, the main character, through the summer when a mere second changes her life forever. The book's plot is about Lisa living a normal life with her mother and Brother, Free. It all comes to an abrupt halt when her mom gets in a car crash. When her mom finally gets out of the hospital and gets to go back home, she seems changed. then, suddenly, her mother decides to take Lisa and Free to Maine- where she grew up- for summer vacation. They reluctantly go, and things change even more. The ending of the story has is a little surprising, but ends very well. Sand dollar Summer is a somewhat heartwarming book about family and change, with a good plot and interesting characters. I think it should have been longer, but I still enjoyed it. I also think that maybe there should have been some more characters, but overall I give this book a A-.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book. I just finished this book in two days. It is so intresting that you cant put the book down. It is funny and sad but with a happy ending! :) Happy reading! Accelerated Reader Level: 4.6 Accelerated Reader Points: 6.0
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book it will stay with me forever!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing it by far was my favorite. every hyear i re read it and always have the same feeling for it. it is just an amazing story for anyone to read i would recommend it to anyone. even for people who dont like to read when you read this book you will love it and it by far is my favorite!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book explains a lot how Lise's mom changes after an injure in a car accident how Free can change.You can love it!!!And the world can fall into peices in just one snap...Read it and learn a little lesson