The Summer I Got a Life by Mark Fink, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Summer I Got a Life

The Summer I Got a Life

4.0 2
by Mark Fink

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Waldrop
Andy Crenshaw and his older brother Brad expected to start their summer off in Hawaii with their parents. Instead, they end up in Wisconsin with their unconventional aunt and uncle. At first, they are so unhappy that Brad even runs away. However, their aunt and uncle soon show them the appeal of living in a small town. When Andy meets Laura, a talented pianist in a wheelchair, he overcomes his wariness of her handicap and falls in love with her. The Summer I Got a Life is a coming of age story that does not quite ring true. Being inside Andy's head is like being inside a synthetic teenager. He is almost real but not quite. Other than the obvious obstacle of Laura's handicap, their relationship is too neatly packaged and perfect to be believable. While all of the characters are perfectly likeable, they do not seem genuine enough to warrant the reader's investment and care in their story. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
VOYA - Rollie Welch
Fifteen-year-old Andy Crenshaw is anxious to hit Hawaii, his family's summer vacation destination. A last-minute change of plans has his parents jetting off to professional duties instead. Andy and his older brother figure they can hang out at their San Francisco home, but that idea is shot down by their mother, who instead arranges to have the boys stay with their Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen in rural Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Their uncle and aunt march to a different drummer, existing without an Internet connection or cable television. The sudden shift from dream vacation to cultural isolation horrifies the brothers. Andy narrates his story in a lighthearted tone that suggests he is only concerned about his own feelings. At times the dialogue reads like an old-time vaudeville bit, and there are several slapstick scenes. An eye-rolling pig chase throughout a mall is especially silly. What sets this story apart from other middle school novels is Andy's friendship with Laura Kearns. Initially gob smacked by her smile, he soon realizes Laura is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Their emerging romance is sweet, and Andy discovers Laura to be a very talented girl with a can-do attitude. She refuses sympathy and declares, "Who wants to be the geek in the chair?" Scenes zip from riding in a hearse and sitting in on a jazz improv to viewing a suicide victim's body, producing a jumbled read. Yet Laura's straight talk about being physically challenged carries the story. Reviewer: Rollie Welch
VOYA - Victoria Andexler
This book is absolutely heart-wrenchingly amazing! I have read a lot of books, and this one is definitely high on my best books list. I could not put it down. It is very intriguing especially because it presents a guy's point of view. It is unquestionably different from any other book I have read. The girl Andy falls in love with is in a wheelchair and that makes it very interesting. Also the relationship with his brother is inspiring in so many ways! The thing is, although I like the whole book, I really like the surprise ending. I would recommend this book to anybody who loves a good romance story. Reviewer: Victoria Andexler, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Andy is pumped that his freshman year is over and his vacation is about to begin. Then his dad's promotion changes everything. Instead of Hawaii, Andy is spending two weeks on a farm in Wisconsin with his somewhat odd, but well-meaning, aunt and uncle. Once there, though, he finds that things aren't so bad, particularly when he spots "the most incredible-looking girl he has ever seen." After a disastrous first impression (Andy runs into a lamppost and drops ice cream all over himself), they meet and Andy discovers that an accident at age four has left Laura confined to a wheelchair. Her indomitable spirit and optimism captivate him, and for the next two weeks they are inseparable. This is an engaging novel filled with life lessons, a little romance, humor, sports, and fraternal love. Laura's disability is dealt with matter-of-factly and doesn't dominate the story or her relationship with Andy. The characters are fresh and memorable, the teen voices are authentic, and the plot moves along at a good pace.—Kelley Siegrist, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Andy Crenshaw, 15, "gets a life" the summer he and his older brother, Brad, spend two weeks in rural Wisconsin at their free-spirited Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen's rundown farm. Stuck with no Internet or cable television, Andy decides to suck it up and enjoy his offbeat, ex-hippie relatives. Things perk up after he meets 16-year-old Laura, a locally well-known classical pianist who is confined to a wheelchair. The two hit it off, and Laura's physical disability is not an impediment to their growing romance, which evolves as they swim, bowl and go to the local fair. A parallel plot involves the friction between Andy and Brad, which improves because of Andy's relationship with Laura. The comic, over-the-top exploits (a pig gets loose in the local mall) are nicely paired with the light romance. The brisk pacing helps to compensate for the predictable story line and will aid in the appeal to reluctant readers, particularly boys. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Westside Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 16 Years

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