Kerr (Your Eyes in Stars) gives a sensitive rendering of a biracial romance in this timely novel about a white teen's infatuation with an illegal immigrant. Understated yet emotionally charged prose expresses 17-year-old Annabel Brown's initial attraction to Esteban Santiago as she watches him play soccer and listens to him sing at a local night club. Their first few encounters are blissful, but complications soon arise due to their families' mutual disapproval. Esteban's older sister, Gioconda, calls Annabel a "white whore" and Annabel's father, who runs a construction company, views Esteban with as little regard as he does other "muchacho" laborers, especially when Esteban bungles a roofing job when substituting for one of Mr. Brown's workers. Forbidden to date Esteban or even talk to him on the phone, Annabel meets him secretly, but as with most Romeo and Juliet-type tales, their relationship cannot withstand social pressures and prejudice. Showcasing the tension created by resentments and fear of that which is different, the author pointedly conveys the plight of immigrants and the ineffectiveness of government policies. Although Annabel is heartbroken when Esteban joins the army as a means to obtain a green card, she gains deep respect and affection for another culture and for new immigrants striving to attain the American dream. Ages 12-up. (July)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Someone Like Summerby M. E. Kerr
A seventeen-year-old girl falls in love with a Latino immigrant in this powerhouse novel about taboo passion and interracial love
Annabel Brown’s first glimpse of the boy fated to change her life is on a soccer field near her home in the resort town of Seaview, Long Island. His name is Esteban Santiago, and he came to town as a member of a/b>… See more details below
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A seventeen-year-old girl falls in love with a Latino immigrant in this powerhouse novel about taboo passion and interracial love
Annabel Brown’s first glimpse of the boy fated to change her life is on a soccer field near her home in the resort town of Seaview, Long Island. His name is Esteban Santiago, and he came to town as a member of a crew hired by Annabel’s father, a widowed contractor. From the moment they see each other, Annabel and Esteban know they’re meant to be together.
They couldn’t be more different. Annabel is a blue-eyed blonde from a wealthy family living a life of privilege and ease. Esteban is an illegal immigrant from Colombia. With both of their families violently opposed to the relationship, they have to sneak around, leaving love notes in library books and meeting secretly on the beach late at night. As the summer—and their romance—progress, racial tensions flare, threatening to turn this peaceful Hamptons town into a powder keg.
Set against the backdrop of the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina, Someone Like Summer has undertones of a modern-day West Side Story as it confronts issues of class, race, prejudice, and a love that transcends every stereotype.
This ebook features an illustrated personal history of M. E. Kerr including rare images from the author’s collection.
Gr 8 Up Annabel and Esteban fall in love at first sight. She's a coddled, Anglo teen living on Long Island, NY, and he's an illegal alien who sometimes does construction work for her father. Their mutual attraction is powerful, sweet, and impossible. The bar's been set pretty high for retellings of Romeo and Juliet , and Kerr's book-weighed down with the freight of contemporary politics-is not entirely successful. An indication that the author has tried to cram too much material into too little space is the five-page letter from Esteban revealing multitudes about his background and his decision to join the U.S. Army, which Kerr saves for the final tenth of the book. And, if imagining Esteban's future military exploits doesn't fill readers with enough foreboding, on the final page, Annabel hears a radio newscaster reporting about a hurricane named Katrina that's expected to strike New Orleans the next day. Kerr's social commentary takes over her plot and characterization.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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Someone Like Summer
By M. E. Kerr
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2007 M. E. Kerr
All rights reserved.
THE FIRST TIME I SAW Esteban, he was kicking a soccer ball down a field behind the Accabonac School. His name was on the back of his team shirt. I saw him notice me, smile, then look over his shoulder at me again. I knew he saw me there. I knew he didn't see me a few days later, when I went to hear him sing at Jungle Pete's. Some of the girls at school talked about this singer who appeared there Saturday nights—Esteban Santiago. They said he was hot. Was he!
I went to the soccer field a lot after that. We were well aware of each other, but it was May before we had our first conversation. I'd gone by the field on my bike, after hanging out on the beach with my pal Mitzi and some other kids from school.
I sat on my bike while he was taking a break from the game, lifting his T-shirt up to wipe his brow. Then he saw me, and he strolled over.
"Hello, I'm Esteban Santiago."
"I know who you are."
"How is that?"
"I heard you sing at Jungle Pete's."
"Thank you. For coming. Thank you."
"You're very good," I managed, even though he made me nervous close up.
He asked, "Do you live near here?"
"Very near. I'm Annabel Brown."
"It is good to have you very near." Big smile. His black hair wet from playing.
"Thanks." I could feel myself blushing.
"I have no other fan. My sister comes in her car to watch me. But she doesn't count because we are related." He looked at me with a shy grin. "Yellow is your color, do you know that?"
I had on a sun-colored T and lowrise jeans, boxing sneakers, and yellow socks.
"I know it now," I said.
When I got home I circled the date on my calendar. May 25, 2005.
After that if I showed up when the game was going, he'd find a few minutes to talk with me. I admit I wore something yellow, too, always. We'd flirt.
"You belong in yellow," he'd say.
"You belong back in the game. They're calling you."
"I forget fútbol for you." That smile. Away from him I could close my eyes and dream it into my head, and I'd be smiling myself, thinking of him. See, I don't care anymore that he's shorter than I am. It never bothered the girls who went with Tom Cruise. I've fallen in love for the first time, I tell my diary, and lucky me, my diary can't roll its eyes to the heavens and say, What about Trip Hetherton?
Fini, dear Diary. I always remember what Dad said about an old heartthrob of his. He said, "Five years later I saw her in an elevator and she was two hundred pounds, eating a chocolate ice cream cone that was all over her face and blouse, grinning at me with her mouth open saying, 'Hey, long time no see.' That's what makes life so great, honey! I once wanted to slash my wrists because she dumped me."
Trip didn't really dump me. I was just never sure of him. One time he'd be e-mailing me and calling me and coming over to watch a movie, another time he'd be so distant that I'd think he'd moved out of town. My brother said it was installment-plan dumping.
That was a whole year ago. I was only sixteen then.
Trip cannot hold a candle to Esteban Santiago.
Can you picture C. Harley Hetherton III strolling out on the small stage at Jungle Pete's, grinning and bowing and then singing until his eyes are shining like stars with his face wet and the crowd going crazy calling out requests? Friends say it happens every Saturday since Esteban started working there.
A day in early June, our first real taste of summer. It was warm even in late afternoon, and some of the players were in shorts.
Esteban wore cargo shorts. He grabbed me by the hand as he came off the field.
"Come with me, Annabel, please," he said. "My older sister wants to meet you."
As we got to the battered red Toyota where Gioconda Santiago puffed on a cigarette, Esteban whispered, "Don't let her intimidate you, Annabel."
Then in a proud tone he said to her, "Gioconda, meet Annabel Brown."
"I've been wanting to meet you," she said. "Last time after the game you ran away."
"I didn't know you wanted to meet me," I said. She had a nice smile. She tapped the long ash off her cigarette on the rolled-down window and introduced me to a girl sitting beside her. Serena something.
Then Gioconda said, "You see my virgencita here?" She used her cigarette to point at a china statue of the Virgin Mary on the dashboard. One of those plastic nodding dogs was next to it.
"Yes, I see."
"I pray to it," she said.
"Well, good. Good." I was embarrassed. My family may pray, but we don't talk about it.
"I drive along praying," said Esteban's sister.
I couldn't think of anything to say to that, and it turned out that I didn't have to answer because her next sentence came rolling off her tongue, with a different kind of smile that made her eyes crinkle and her mouth tip slyly to one side. "You are a flour face," she said.
"Thank you." I thought she'd said flower.
Esteban was bending over to tie his shoe.
"I pray that Esteban will tell you to stop chasing after him!" she said. This time Esteban heard her, just as I realized she didn't mean a flower. She meant flour. White.
"Come on, Annabel." Esteban grabbed my arm and pulled me. "Vamos!" We could hear the girls in the car laughing. Esteban said, "When will I learn that I cannot trust her to behave herself? I am sorry. I did not know she would do that."
His sister was not finished. She shouted over her shoulder, "Stop throwing yourself at my brother, Flour Face." Then she said something to Esteban in Spanish. I'd had only two years of Spanish, and I didn't understand it unless the speaker went very slowly. Esteban had to tell me what she'd shouted after me.
She'd said, "The Santiagos don't want any white babies running around, Esteban."
I tried to be cool when he told me his sister said that. I smiled down at his brown eyes and said, "She's rushing things, isn't she?"
"Yes. But she knows I like you ... that way, Annabel."
"Do you tell her that?"
"She is my family. I do not have to tell her. She sees me looking at you when I am playing."
"Dear old family," I said. "Try to put anything over on them." I hardly heard myself. I kept thinking about what he'd said, that he liked me "that way."
Esteban said, "Years ago there was trouble in my country and my father was captured. We never saw him after. Ever since, my sister protects me too much. I tell her those things don't happen in this country. She still looks out for me always."
"I am sorry about your father, Esteban."
"Thank you.... I tell Gioconda don't worry about me. I can take care of myself."
"What does your sister think you're going to do?"
"She is more concerned with what you are going to do. Maybe you will take me away from my family, from my country. Do you think you will do that, Annabel?" He smiled. His eyes crinkled, too, but in a sweet way. He was so great-looking. His hair shone like new coal.
"I have something to tell you, Annabel," he said. He took my hand as we walked along. "I am going to do some work for your father."
"A week from this Friday afternoon I am going to put the new roof on your garage. Dario Lopez from our house was scheduled, but he has to take a driver's test to get his license."
"And my father hired you?" All the other Latinos who worked for Dad seemed older. Esteban was just twenty. He had no training in construction. Dad never went down to the railroad station, where the unemployed, unskilled immigrants waited for jobs. He had regular crews. He was a major taskmaster.
"Your father hired Dario, but I will take his place."
"I thought you said you cooked at the Pantigo Deli, Esteban?"
"I do. I do all things. I cook. I do yard work. I sing."
I couldn't see him working with Dad's crew. Dad never let them listen to radios while they worked. Other contractors didn't care, but Dad wouldn't allow it. They didn't talk. They just hammered away, putting up house frames in a day, roofs in half a day. They were hard, hard workers!
"My father is a perfectionist, Esteban. Since when are you a carpenter?"
"Since I said I would do it for Dario." He gave me a big smile.CHAPTER 2
MY FATHER'S WORK CREWS eventually became all Latino. They work for ten dollars an hour. When my brother was home from Cornell, he was always after Dad. "You call yourself a contractor? You hire slave laborers, Dad. And what happened to the local men you used to hire?"
"The locals want twenty-five, thirty an hour. Some jobs these guys do, the locals won't do."
"So you hire desperate immigrants who'll work for anything!"
"It's a darn good deal for them," my father said defensively. "Most of them don't speak English, and some don't even have papers. I don't ask questions. I give them steady work. They learn on the job, some of them, and they can earn as high as three hundred a week."
"I can't discuss it with you, Dad. Your mind is made up."
"You college boys don't know zilch about the working world," said Kenneth Brown to Kenyon Brown. "The only thing you really know how to do is spend money someone else earns."
"I waited tables all last summer, Dad, in case you don't remember."
"Oh, is that a job? Do you have any calluses? Is your neck sunburned? If you want to know what work is, watch these Latinos. They're a whole new breed, Kenyon! We've never had people like them! They sock away three fourths of what they earn. They send it to their families."
"So did the Irish when they used to come here summers."
"The Irish never stuck around more than a few months. They were all kids, just here for the summer. Give me the muchachos any day! They're the best thing that ever happened out here."
"Out here" is the tip of Long Island, the Hamptons, Seaview to be exact. We were a resort town in the summer, yet more and more people were staying with us longer, and more vacationers were buying houses too. Some said the computer had changed everything—that now people could do their work from home, no need to go into the office every day. Whatever the reason was, we were growing fast, and the new immigrants were a big part of the picture. They did not come to us for a vacation, as so many did. They came here to work.
They came from everywhere: from Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Guyana, you name it.
They have changed a lot of things about Seaview. In the supermarkets like Waldbaum's and the IGA, now there were green plantains, yucca, calabaza, and batata. The little delis popping up along Montauk Highway featured arroz con pollo, enchiladas, tacos, and tamales. Many church sermon boards were in Spanish and English, and so were some town meetings.
Out in a section of town called Accabonac, where we lived, the biggest problem was finding a place to build sports fields for them. They are soccer players. They all seem to be. That first time I saw Esteban, kicking a soccer ball around a field, the police arrived to warn them all games are supposed to end by six P.M. But sometimes I hear them there at nine or ten, still going, until neighbors call the police back.
Nobody wants soccer fields in his backyard. Last summer my father was one of the few people in our neighborhood who spoke up for the fields when they wanted to put some a few blocks from where they play now. The vote went against the soccer players, and supposedly the town is clearing land near the dump for them. Meanwhile they remain.
"What is the matter with people?" my father said. "We have our golf courses and our tennis courts, our baseball diamonds and our football fields. But we just can't take the idea of having good clean fun going on in our neighborhood if the sport is soccer. We all know who the soccer players are—Latinos!"
"That's not why," my brother argued. "Don't make a race thing out of it. People don't want the noise in their backyards. They don't want the lights at night or the public restrooms!"
"People should be glad the muchachos want to recreate in their spare time," said my father. "You don't see them crawling in windows to rob, or hanging around the parking lots to smoke dope and key cars."
There was a fair chance that my father would like Esteban. He admired hard workers because he was one himself. He did not take to Trip. Summers all Trip did was surf and sail, because his family was rich. Trip's big faux pas was to honk the horn for me the night of our first date. My father made me sit in the living room until Trip figured out he had to get out of his Lexus and come into our house to meet my father. Dad also examined Trip's driving license and told Trip he was to have me back home by eleven thirty P.M.
Our garage hasn't had a car in it for years. Kenyon slept on a pullout bed in my dad's office. Dad's office spilled over into the garage, where Kenyon kept a battered old motorboat, skis, a skateboard, surfboard, all his playthings and gear. Being the only daughter, I always had my own room.
Now, with Kenyon finishing his last year at Cornell, Dad was reclaiming that part of our house. Kenyon was planning to work for Dr. Annan, at Seaview Vet. Someone had to be on the premises overnight with the animals, so a small apartment went with the deal. Charlie Annan was on the zoning board, and he was a trustee of everything from the hospital to the library. Everyone admired Charlie.
Of all things, Dad was creating a screening room in the garage. I believe this was part of his plan to begin dating again, or as he put it, "to find the right woman for my old age." He said he knew he would never find someone like my mother. He used to say Mom was his university, that she had taught him "culture," that he had not had an original thought in his head for twenty-two years until he married her. He would tell Kenyon and me that he had wanted to name Kenyon Kenneth Brown Junior, and me Mary Brown, after his grandma. But my mother had taught him how important names were, and that if you had an ordinary last name, you deserved an exotic first name.
In our living room was a sampler my mom had made that said: My heart is free, my head-unbowed, I do not join the foolish crowd.
My father had gotten one of his crews together to install in the garage a hardwood floor and new windows with shutters. He had gotten a permit for a bathroom, a stove, and a sink. He bought a wide-screen TV, a projector, DVD, the works. Then came all new furniture: two leather chairs that reclined, a leather couch that could convert to a double bed. Thick rugs. Fancy recessed lighting. A white marble-top coffee table that swiveled up to a full-size dining table. My father had learned a lot working for the movie moguls and investment bankers who flocked to our shores summers and weekends. This screening room didn't look like it belonged with the rest of the house. Even my brother was shy about using it for any reason when he was home from college. He kept some of his summer clothes in my bottom bureau drawer. I wasn't surprised to find a few packages of condoms under his swim trunks.CHAPTER 3
"ESTEBAN SANTIAGO TOLD ME he's going to do the screening room roof a week from Friday," I said to Dad at dinner that night. "When Dario can't work, Ramón does. Where's Ramón?"
"I don't know anyone named Ramón."
"How did you know Santiago is taking Dario's, and how do you know him?" Dad asked.
"I've heard him sing at Jungle Pete's. He's fabulous!" I didn't want to admit I went by the soccer field early Wednesday evenings to see him play and to have time with him.
Dad knew I wasn't interested in sports of any kind. Ease into this, I told myself.
Dad said, "Do you talk to this muchacho?"
"What do you two have to talk about?"
"I've seen him play soccer. I told him he was good."
"Since when do you care about soccer?"
"I don't care that much about it." I should have said I care about it when Esteban plays, but I didn't really know how to tell my father I might be falling in love with someone I didn't know very much about. I would never be able to answer Dad's usual questions: What does his father do? Where do they live? What does this young man want to do with his life?
All right—I would leave out the love part. Call it a crush. That made less of my feelings, but Dad could live with a crush. Mention love, and Dad gets that lost look in his eyes that says he wishes Mom was alive. Mom would know how to get me through it, or over it, or whatever it takes to get me back on track without any damage.
Dad said, "I don't think you care about soccer at all, Annabel. And I hope you don't care about something else. Someone else."
"Why would you think that?"
"You brought up his name. People can't stop saying the name when they're interested in someone."
Excerpted from Someone Like Summer by M. E. Kerr. Copyright © 2007 M. E. Kerr. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book was pretty good, but kind of slow in the beginning. Not one of my top 10 books but definetly gets the "Good Book" category. Happy reading!
i found this book to be very bad. i found estaban to be demanding and taking advantage of annabel. it was very hard for me to keep reading it.
In an age when questions of illegal immigration and exploitation of workers increasingly threaten to divide American society, M. E. Kerr presents a story of young interracial love that could be found anywhere in the country, not just in the resort town of Seaview, NY. All of the characters are here: the overt racist, protected by a successful position in the community; the young intellectual trapped between what he knows and who he loves; the businessman using illegal immigrants to his advantage, while convincing himself that he is doing them a favor; the immigrants themselves, some legal, some not, trying to build a life within a new culture, but also trying to retain their own heritage; and the young lovers, one hoping to improve himself, but constrained by the fact that he is in the U.S. illegally, and one too naïve to understand that love simply cannot conquer all. Yes, they are all here--and Kerr doesn't shy away from the ups or the downs.
Kerr specifically showcases the complexities of prejudice in the character of Annabel's father, Kenneth Brown. Although he constantly belittles the Hispanic population, referring to people as "muchachos" and refusing to learn the names of his workers, simply referring to everyone as "Pedro" or "Jose," he seems to truly believe he is open-minded and forward thinking, simply because he is willing to hire Hispanic workers. The fact that he pays them less than half what he would pay an American worker doesn't register as racist whatsoever: "It's a darn good deal for them .... Most of them don't speak English, and some don't even have papers. I don't ask questions. I give them steady work. They learn on the job some of them, and they can earn as high as three hundred a week" (p. 12). Annabel, meanwhile, even though she is in love with a man from Colombia, remains in denial about her father's racism, defending him directly to Esteban: "My father sometimes uses that language ... but he doesn't mean to offend anyone. He's just from the old school. They don't know how offensive it is" (p. 165).
Kenneth Brown knows better; Annabel Brown knows better; we all know better. And, as Kerr points out, we are all capable of racism and denial, regardless of our race. Esteban frequently makes excuses for his sister, who hates Annabel and calls her names solely because Annabel is ehite: "Stop throwing yourself at my brother, Flour Face" (p. 7). When it comes to prejudice and hatred, it seems, unfortunately, that there is enough to go around for everyone.
In addition to putting a spotlight on the many problems we must face regarding immigration, Kerr does an excellent job of introducing the names of many giants of literature--Hemingway, e.e. cummings, Poe--and other artistic greats into the storyline. Kerr drops tidbits of information into the dialogue, providing just enough trivia to whet one's interest in these various artists, thus encouraging readers to hit the library and look for details beyond the SOMEONE LIKE SUMMER sound bite.
Ultimately, this is an important work for so many reasons, and one must be somewhat courageous to even pick up the book and read it. Why? Because it's not a matter of if you will see yourself in the pages. Rather, the question is, "In which character will you see yourself?"
¿Someone like summer¿ is a twisted tale of Annabel and Esteban Santiago¿s secret romance behind her fathers back. This is a great read for anyone who loves the Spanish culture, Spanish music, and even civil issues. ¿Someone like summer¿ is a book people who don¿t think foreign workers should be here should read, because Esteban, an illegal worker from Colombia shows how he constantly tries to save his familia. If you can stand a little bit of Spanish here and there, I suggest you read ¿Someone like summer¿.
Typical teen romance. I didn't enjoy it all. I had to force myself to read the ending just to say I finished it.
If you love books about summer love stories this book is for you. Someone like summer is a romance novel about two kids who fall in love. The only problem is that the boy she falls in love with is an illegal immigrant. Estaban, who works for her father for lower then minimum wage is not approved by her father, and in order to see him she has to sneak out when he¿s gone. This book takes you through all their memories they have together and how tough it was to have that good of relationship given the circumstances.
Annabel Brown is seventeen and in love for the first time. The trouble is, she¿s in love with Esteban Santiago, an illegal immigrant. When her father¿s good friend upends Esteban¿s living arrangements, Annabel must look realistically at her romance with this young man and where it can go. Ms. Kerr tackles a sensitive issue with a great deal of tenderness and concern. The story of the family dynamics between Annabel, her brother who has recently graduated from Cornell, and her father are lovingly drawn. The story of a proud immigrant who is just trying to take care of his familia back home is equally as tenderly depicted. This quick read is not afraid to look at tough issues such as immigration policy, the challenges of being illegal, and teen sexuality, but does so in a way that could be discussed in even the upper grades of middle school. While I don¿t agree with all of the political views propounded by Ms. Kerr 'and while it does get a bit high handed near the end', this book definitely provides an excellent opportunity to discuss immigration, biracial relationships, and politics within the framework of a classroom setting. This is a book that both young men and young women will enjoy.
This sucks having to keep this from my dad. It¿s like living a lie to him and living a love life to me. Well this all started in the beginning of the summer when I started to spend a lot more time at the soccer fields. Looking at one particular guy. His name is Esteban Santiago. To me he is vary handsome and to my dad he just another Latino that works for him. This is all about the book called someone like summer. This book is some what good it is not my favorite. To me it¿s in the middle.