Summer's End

Summer's End

by Audrey Couloumbis
     
 

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The summer Grace turns thirteen is when everything changes. The Vietnam War is raging, and Grace's brother, Collin, is drafted. But Collin decides to take a stand and burn his draft card, igniting a war within the family. Grace suddenly finds herself bewildered and angry, thrust into a turbulent political climate. The war is everywhere, and Grace quickly learns that…  See more details below

Overview

The summer Grace turns thirteen is when everything changes. The Vietnam War is raging, and Grace's brother, Collin, is drafted. But Collin decides to take a stand and burn his draft card, igniting a war within the family. Grace suddenly finds herself bewildered and angry, thrust into a turbulent political climate. The war is everywhere, and Grace quickly learns that she cannot escape it, no matter how hard she tries.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
War is not easy on anyone and in particular for a thirteen-year-old girl named Grace. Everything in her life begins to unravel when her brother, Collin, burns his draft card during the Vietnam War. In response to his actions, Grace's stepfather kicks him out of the house. Then Collin winds up fleeing to Canada. Grace's mother sides with her son since her first husband died in the Korean War but with all the conflict at home, Grace decides to spend the summer at her grandmother's farm. At the farm, she meets her cousins, Dolly and Theo, who have older siblings that are also being affected by the Vietnam War. War does not single out a family, but an entire generation is the message of the book. The repercussions can linger for many generations and impact young and old. The tension only rises when Uncle Milford dies in an accident. What is a family to do when it has become emotionally divided? Will Grace ever be able to understand the choices that Collin made on the day she was to have her birthday party? 2005, G.P. Putnam's Sons, Ages 12 up.
—Rosa Roberts
Grace can't stand the fighting. Since her brother burned his draft card, there's been nothing but fighting at home. Having to cancel her first boy/girl birthday party is the last straw. Looking for an escape, Grace sneaks a ride in the bed of Uncle Milford's pickup, hoping to find comfort in the routine chores of her grandma's farm; instead, she finds that even her cousins are fighting—about their brothers' involvement in the war. As days pass, Grace and her parents come to an understanding—about her brother, the war, and birthday parties. After a tragic accident, Grace's challenge of finding safety and the importance of family rise to a whole new level. Couloumbis' uses vivid dialogue, and the down-to-earth, yet intricate narrative offers an excellent glimpse into the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl struggling to find her place in a changing world. Young adults are sure to connect to Grace as they walk with her through Summer's End. 2005, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 182 pp., Ages young adult.
—Rachel Lance
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-This novel poignantly captures the tensions, uncertainties, and rifts caused by the Vietnam War. When 13-year-old Grace's brother, Collin, burns his draft card, his stepfather throws him out of the house and the teen heads to Canada. Grace's mother, whose first husband died in the Korean War, supports her son's decisions. Grace is confused about who is right and where her allegiance lies. When the arguing gets to be too much for her, she retreats to her grandmother's farm, where she encounters her large extended family, among them her teenage cousins, who have older brothers whose lives have also been impacted by the war. When Uncle Milford dies in an accident, his relatives recognize the fragility of life and the importance of family. In its touching examination of loss, grief, and the power of families to heal, this novel is reminiscent of Getting Near to Baby (Putnam, 1999). The first-person, present-tense narrative conveys powerful emotions with the simplest of words. Grace's jealousy of her brother, her confusion, and her simultaneously missing and being mad at him all ring true. She comes to realize that all choices are hard, and that while people you care about don't always do what you think is right, it is important that families stay together. Couloumbis's spare, strong writing aptly conveys a difficult time in America.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the summer of 1965, Grace's brother Collin is growing his hair long, reading Johnny Got His Gun and becoming involved in anti-war protests. When he torches his draft card, his father puts his belongings out on the front porch, effectively disowning him. Collin heads to Canada; his father wonders if he can hold up his head in town anymore; Grace's mother is caught in the middle; and Grace's primary concern is that her 13th birthday party won't happen now. Couloumbis traces the ripple effects of Collin's action throughout Grace's extended family and expertly navigates the ebb and flow of family relationships in a time of stress. Grace's journey from self-absorption to empathy is well drawn, as is the family drama in which each character changes in a realistic way, and hope proves to be made of "really tough stuff if it was still able to draw breath around here." A strong Vietnam War-era and coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 11+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101563465
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
03/01/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
File size:
369 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

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Meet the Author

Audrey Couloumbis lives in South Fallsburg, New York.

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