Summer of the Gypsy Moths

( 12 )

Overview

Secrets and Survival

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in herbig old house on Cape Cod for many reasons,but mostly because Louise likes routines, somethingStella appreciates since her mom is kind of unreliable.So while Mom "finds herself," Stella fantasizes thatsomeday she'll come back to the Cape and settle down.The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kidLouise has taken in. Angel couldn't be less like hername—she's tough and...

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Summer of the Gypsy Moths

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Overview

Secrets and Survival

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in herbig old house on Cape Cod for many reasons,but mostly because Louise likes routines, somethingStella appreciates since her mom is kind of unreliable.So while Mom "finds herself," Stella fantasizes thatsomeday she'll come back to the Cape and settle down.The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kidLouise has taken in. Angel couldn't be less like hername—she's tough and prickly, and the girls hardlyspeak to each other.

But when tragedy strikes, Stella and Angel must relyon each other to survive, and they learn that they arestronger together than they could have imagined. Andthey discover the one thing they do have in common:dreams of finally belonging to a real family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two dissimilar girls forge a genuine friendship under strenuous circumstances in Pennypacker’s memorable, tense novel. The story unfolds in the fresh, credible voice of 11-year-old Stella, who’s been taken from her unstable single mother and sent to live with her great-aunt Louise, also caregiver to an orphaned foster child named Angel. The girls barely speak to each other until Louise unexpectedly dies and, fearing they’ll be placed in another foster home, they bury her body in the garden and try to hide that she has died. Throughout, Pennypacker (the Clementine series) skillfully meshes the poignant and the comedic. Identifying with Louise’s blueberry bushes (“I knew how it felt when the one person tending you disappeared”), Stella vows to save them from lethal gypsy moths. Simul-taneously becoming self-sufficient and dependent on one another, Stella and Angel bond as they take over Louise’s housecleaning job and try to stave off starvation. Beautifully evoked, the novel’s Cape Cod setting plays a focal role in this richly layered tale of loss, resiliency, and belonging. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)
The Horn Book
Praise for CLEMENTINE’S LETTER“This may be the best entry so far in the series, as Pennypacker develops her ingenious but impulsive character...And Frazee’s line drawings go a little further this time in showing Clementine’s highly charged emotions and her capacity for creating chaos in her surroundings”
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
After her grandmother dies and her mother abandons her, sixth-grader Stella goes to live with her Great-Aunt Louise who manages cottages on Cape Cod. Louise takes in Angel, a foster child, to be company for Stella but they "turn out to be oil and water." That is until they return from school one day and discover that Louise has died. Angel does not want to go to any more foster homes and plans to run away. She changes her mind, however, when she hears that the renters leave tips. In order to stay at Louise's house, the girls decide to secretly bury the body and keep the house, garden, and cottages running as normally as possible. Among the issues to be dealt with are the Gypsy Moth caterpillars who have invaded the blueberry bushes—the very ones that Stella's mother had helped Aunt Louise plant about twenty years ago. Each girl has her own dreams. Angel is waiting for her emigrant aunt to get settled so she can live with her. Stella longs for her mother to return. As Stella turns to hints from Louise to restore order around her, she emotionally searches for connections to other people and for order to replace the chaos of her life. Writing from Stella's perspective, Pennypacker creates two seemingly different characters in Stella and Angel. She balances their emotional difficulties with humorous incidents. The reader learns from Stella that "broken things tell stories." And indeed they do! Pennypacker tells a good one, for sure. Stella and Angel will remain with the reader long after the satisfying ending. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
Kirkus Reviews
Desperate times call for desperate measures indeed when, one summer afternoon on Cape Cod, 11-year-old Stella finds her sole caretaker, her great-aunt Louise, dead in her chair. Stella, who's been abandoned by her mom, and Louise's 12-year-old foster child Angel know the second they call 911 they'll be hauled off by the authorities… and the thought of having to leave a good home for who knows where is too much to bear. So they bury Louise in the garden. The suspense escalates. How long will Stella and Angel be able to keep Louise's death a secret in a small community? Will dogs dig up the body? Will the girls be able to pull off the task of assuming Louise's duties as manager of the Linger Longer Cottage Colony? How long can they survive eating relish, stale croutons and "Froot Loop dust"? The unfolding story is both deliciously intense and entertaining. Stella, an order-seeking girl whose oracle is Heloise (of hint fame), not only knows how to keep a corpse from smelling (Febreze), she employs old pantyhose and Crisco to keep the gypsy moths off Louise's beloved blueberry bushes. Stella's poetic, philosophical observations of the world are often genuinely moving, and tough-on-the-outside Angel is her perfect foil. A suspenseful, surprising novel of friendship and family from the creator of the popular Clementine series. (Fiction. 9-12)
Elisabeth Egan
…Pennypacker is a ­Beverly Cleary-caliber girl-whisperer; she can weave a yarn both funny and touching, with all the beloved, timeworn themes at the ready: friendship, family, loyalty, loss and independence.
—The New York Times Book Review
New York Times Book Review
“Pennypacker is a Beverly Cleary-caliber girl-whisperer; she can weave a yarn both funny and touching, with all the beloved, timeworn themes at the ready: friendship, family, loyalty, loss and independence.”
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Ever since the death of her beloved grandmother, 11-year-old Stella has battled to maintain a sense of stability, to "clutch hold" to the spinning Earth. She explains that an unknown father and a terminally irresponsible mother have made her "personal gravity" "a little weak" and left her feeling rootless. Her anxiety is just beginning to lessen now that she shares a Cape Cod home with her taciturn Great-Aunt Louise and a foster girl named Angel whom Stella considers like "a cactus…all spines." Pennypacker beautifully illuminates Stella's physical experience with vivid, unfussy prose, allowing readers to feel her nervousness and longing and her vigorous commitment to cleanliness and order (she even identifies a folder of hints from Heloise as her most precious possession). When Louise dies suddenly, Stella and Angel secretly bury the body in order to stay in her house, managing the vacation cottage colony next door and surviving on tourists' leftovers, in hopes of buying time for each girl's desired caregiver to provide a suitable home. The book effectively evokes the gritty, sun-bleached textures and salt breezes of its seaside setting, a vacationlike contrast to the strenuous, desperate independence of the two girls. The understanding and emotional bond that grows between them develops with believable fluctuations and a light touch, as does the suspense of how long two kids can continue alone without being caught or getting a ride to the grocery store. Pennypacker's marvelously tactile writing animates Stella's narration and brings both engaging, resilient, and resourceful characters to life.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061964206
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Pages: 275
  • Sales rank: 278,653
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Pennypacker

When Sara Pennypacker was a kid, she thought her parents' job was to keep life dull. She is very much afraid her own children felt the same way about her. Now that she's grown up, she is the author of the acclaimed middle grade novel Summer of the Gypsy Moths; the award-winning, New York Times-bestselling Clementine chapter book series; and the picture books Pierre in Love and Sparrow Girl. She divides her time between Cape Cod and Florida.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    Great Book!

    One of the best books I have ever read. It really pulls you in and it just keeps you wondering what will happen next. The only question I had at the end was how Stella liked living with George. Great book for anyone who has lost a family member or wants to know what it is like. Or if you are just looking for a good read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Awesome

    My 11 year old loves this book she says it's one of the best books she has every read next to Hunger Games

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    Loooovvvvveeee itttt

    I got this book from the library and wanted to share my happiness of this book! Its wonderful its heart breaking, funny, great story though i luv it soooo much its worth the money trust me. Great story for ages 10+

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Zoe

    This book is awesome

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  • Posted February 8, 2014

    akjyfdhf

    akjyfdhf

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Mya B.

    Sooooooooooo sweeeeeeeeeet!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    My bff

    My friend sydney and i bouth red this book i love it. Its highley recomended..... a gymnast

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Behfhjjx

    Ok book

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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