Heath always looked forward to summer visits at Grandpa’s—long days in the wild Rocky Mountains, fishing with Dad on the Piedra River, and nights sleeping on the screened-in porch. Plus this summer, Dad promised to finally tell him the secret about old Mrs. Baylis—a mysterious Native American woman living down the dusty dirt road… But now, after Dad’s accident, it can never happen that way. Heath and his mother go to Grandpa’s, but only to spread Dad’s ashes in the river.
In the beginning, Heath feels like he's been swallowed by the raging Piedra, held upside down in some dark and unforgiving eddy. But one day, wandering along the riverbank, he meets Annie, a wild-eyed tomboy who shows him a hidden cave with a litter of orphaned coyote pups. Together they discover the cave holds another secret—one that might help them figure out the mystery of old Mrs. Baylis.
During that summer in the mountains, Heath comes to realize there is both beauty and ugliness in the world, sometimes all tangled together. By opening himself up to Annie and the coyotes, he rediscovers hope and joy in this big, beautiful, messed-up world.
|Publisher:||Moon Halo Books|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||767 KB|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You have never heard of this book have you? That makes me so sad. How do such wonderful books fly under so many people’s radars? This is a special book that should be in the hands of middle schoolers everywhere! Heath is a character that so many kids will connect with, and his journey would definitely touch them like it did me. Heath recently lost his father senselessly when he was hit by a drunk driver. The sudden loss of a man that Heath looked up to affects him tremendously, and he is struggling to find himself. Everything he does at his Grandpa’s house reminds him of his dad, and his mom and Grandpa are dealing with the death in a way that makes Heath feel alone. But during this summer, his coyote summer, he finds his own identity, makes an everlasting friend, and begins to figure out how to deal without his dad. And there are other subplots that run throughout he book that just add to the depth of the narrative such as Annie’s story and the story of Mrs. Baylis.
Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite Coyote Summer by J.S. Kapchinske is a beautifully written tale of a young boy and his grandfather learning to know one another after the boy’s father – the grandfather’s son – was killed by a drunk driver. I suppose this is what is called a “coming of age” story, throughout which Kapchinske wove several sub-plots into a rich tapestry of prosaic enchantment. Young Heath Jenkins hiked the short distance from his grandfather’s house to the river on which his father used to take him fishing, when he heard a girl singing quietly across the river. Crossing on a series of boulders, Heath found Annie in a cave, where she was singing to four orphaned coyote pups. The chemistry between the two was tempestuous at first, but soon grew to a closeness fostered by a grief they shared. Coyote Summer is a rare tale; it made my eyes start leaking several times. Maybe it’s my meds, but I think not. This really was an outstanding story, and Kapchinske painted a brilliant setting in which it would unfold. The character development was astounding, and the raw emotion of the several main characters was breathtakingly realistic. I honestly cannot think of words adequate to convey the utter beauty of this story. The writing was succinct, poignant, and precise. The emotional entanglements reached out of the book and grabbed me, pulling me into the story as a “fly on the wall” and shaping my own emotions to those of the characters. This is a story that would be best read either near a pool or a beach, so you can jump in the water to hide your tears. Or, you could read it when you know you will be alone for the duration, free of disturbance. Regardless of where you read it, you must read it. It is one story you will not forget soon.
This reasonably quick read, aimed to middle-school aged children combined a clever story, some life lessons and well-defined characters that stresses the importance of “moving forward” despite fears or struggles. Told in a first-person narrative, the plot moves forward nicely without much hesitation, memories being explored during forward movement rather than stopping to ponder. That clever addition and the development of the character Heath both before and after he meets Annie keeps the pages turning with plenty of interesting word-pictures being created for readers. With a few untied strings left hanging, and a bit of a rush on the mystery resolution, I think there is plenty of room for an additional story, if not more than one: and certainly makes this an author to look for when your children are in need of another story. A wholly engaging story, full of important lessons delivered through example and not feeling like a lecture, J.S. Kapchinske has created a good option for the ‘book report’ requirements that figured so heavily in my middle school years. I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own responsibility.
A beautifully written and entertaining story.