Summer on the Moon

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A move from an impoverished tenement to an unfinished suburban development turns thirteen-year-old Socko's world inside out.

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A move from an impoverished tenement to an unfinished suburban development turns thirteen-year-old Socko's world inside out.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
School's out for summer, but 13-year-old Socko and best friend Damien don't have much cause for celebration. They live in a run-down apartment building in a bad part of town, and live in fear of 17-year-old Rapp and his gang. Still, they have each other, and Socko also has Delia, his hard-working mom who refuses to give up on a better life for the two of them. In fact, her optimistic outlook and determination have already influenced Rapp's girlfriend, Junebug, to pursue nursing. This same Junebug comes to Damien's rescue when his fiery paper airplane accidentally lands on Rapp, while Socko stands by, paralyzed with fear. Luckily for Socko and his mom, a deus ex machina comes their way in the form of Socko's estranged, curmudgeonly great-grandfather. It seems "The General" has struck a deal too good to reject: he's bought a house in a new development, which will be Delia's...after he dies. In the meantime, the three of them will live there together. As Socko contends with his grumpy great-grandfather, befriends a 14-year-old girl who lives across the street, and schemes to get Damien to move in with him, the uneventful summer he anticipated is anything but. This is an excellent, engrossing story peopled with memorable characters the reader will worry about and root for. By skillfully combining suspense, humor and heart, Fogelin has created a page-turner that should not only be read, but shared. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Socko Starr's summer has begun on an ominous note. He and his friend Damien have just put themselves in the path of the local gang leader. Then his mother shocks everyone with a surprise announcement that the family is relocating to a subdivision far away from their inner-city apartment complex. His great-grandfather, aka the General, whom Socko has never met, will be joining them. Without his consent, the 13-year-old is moved to Moon Ridge Estates, which is nothing like its advertisements, and away from Damien, who is left to deal with the dangers of the old neighborhood. He goes on recon missions for the General but things begin to get interesting when another family moves in across the street. As Socko begins to enjoy his new life, problems from his old life threaten to invade. The novel gets off to a slow start but picks up steam once the family moves. The characters are initially interesting, but their development is stunted by the author telling readers about their growth rather than demonstrating it in the narrative.—Naphtali L. Faris, Missouri State Library, Jefferson City
Kirkus Reviews
Meet Socrates, better known as Socko, on the first day of summer before his eighth-grade year, a summer that will change his life forever. The musty walls of the dilapidated Kludge Apartments are marred by creepy-looking spiders: tags indicating that the building is the territory of the Tarantulas, a neighborhood gang headed up by a local thug called Rapp. Socko and his friend Damien make it their business to avoid the gang, putting off as long as possible the inevitable day that they will be forced to join. When Socko's mom announces that they are moving to a house in Moon Ridge Estates, Socko is thankful for the escape but devastated that he cannot bring Damien with him. And when they arrive at the Estates--which is bereft of trees, grass and other people, nothing like the fancy brochures promised--and meet the curmudgeonly great-grandfather that they will be taking care of in exchange for housing, his hopes sink still further. Eventually, Socko meets Livvy and learns that her father owns the now-struggling housing development. At first, there seems to be no way to save it, and no way to help the folks that Socko and his mom have left behind in the old neighborhood, but with some creative thinking and generosity of spirit, miracles might just be possible. The third-person narration is tightly focused through Socko's perspective, adopting a gentle colloquial voice that complements the natural dialogue. Steeped in violence (more implied than graphic) and poverty, but focused on love and hope. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561457854
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 234
  • Sales rank: 391,601
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Customer Reviews

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    It¿s been so long since I was head-over-heels for a children¿s n

    It’s been so long since I was head-over-heels for a children’s novel that I was beginning to think the problem wasn’t the books but me becoming old and bitter.

    Then I read “Summer on the Moon” by Adrian Fogelin, and – what a relief! It turns out I’m fine, and the books were the problem after all.

    The opening of “Summer on the Moon” illustrates its high originality, grit and authenticity. Just released for the summer, middle schoolers Socko (short for Socrates) and Damien come home to their seedy Florida apartment building and avail themselves of their “personal amusement park ride,” an ancient elevator, which they call The Hurtler.

    To play, you ride to the top and punch all the buttons, which makes the elevator malfunction and drop-drop-drop until – just as death seems imminent – you hit the “open door” button, causing the elevator to brake with a heart-wrenching jerk.
    I don’t know if it’s possible to use an elevator this way or not (readers, please don’t try this at home!) but Fogelin depicts The Hurtler convincingly just as she does the cockroaches, gang members, and drug-addled parents that inhabit Damien and Socko’s grim and dangerous world.

    But then a near miracle occurs. Socko’s widowed, disabled grandfather offers to buy him and his mom a house if in exchange they will take him in and take care of him. Mom, who works at a fast-food joint, jumps at the chance, and soon the family leaves Damien behind and moves into a beautiful new house in Moon Ridge Estates, a gated subdivision where all the other houses are vacant.
    In a nice, timely touch, Moon Ridge Estates is bankrupt, and the developer, nearly bankrupt himself, moves in with his family across the street. The family includes an attractive formerly rich girl Socko’s age, Livvy.

    No surprise that Socko feels a romantic attraction – his first – to Livvy, or that Socko’s grandfather turns out to be a curmudgeon with a heart of gold. What distinguishes the book for me is the authenticity of the detail as well as Fogelin’s effective use of hard-working metaphors that further the plot and also make sense in the context of Socko’s world.

    Besides The Hurtler, there’s the moonscape that is Moon Ridge Estates. Pivotal plot points take place in an empty swimming pool and the unfinished skeleton of a house.

    The emotional heart of the book is not Socko’s relationship with Livvy but his distress at leaving Damien to fend for himself in the mean streets of the old hood. “Summer on the Moon” is timely and literary and deals with serious social issues, but it’s also a total page-turner and at times very funny. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Newbery Committee members – are you listening?

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