Though Georgie, 11, wants to spend the summer creating dance routines with her best friend, she instead finds herself headed from her home outside Atlanta to Bogalusa, La.—a small town that, thanks to the local paper mill, literally “stinks.” While Georgie’s sister Peaches, who’s recovering from meningitis, stays with the girls’ father, Georgie and her mother will be helping great-aunt Vie, whose Alzheimer’s has recently accelerated, and working to keep Sweetings, the diner Vie established, operational. But Georgie’s stuck at Vie’s home doing chores until meeting 12-year-old Markie Jean, a girl with a limb difference who works at the diner. As Georgie and Markie become close, and Georgie begins to win some independence from her protective mother, she makes it her duty—with mixed results—to find Markie’s biological family, raise community awareness about Alzheimer’s, and save the family’s restaurant. Crafting a largely Black tween cast embarking on a summer full of family secrets, friendship, soul food, and life lessons, Youngblood (Love Like Sky) delivers a well-paced look at the importance of family legacy. Ages 8–12. Agent: John Rudolph, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (July)
Praise for Forever This Summer:
"A glorious, big-hearted, and joyful novel! Forever This Summer celebrates three talented girls who discover, with love and empathy, they can triumph, heal, and inspire one another as well as their families and community."—Jewell Parker Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Boys and Black Brother, Black Brother
“The characters and setting in Forever This Summer are depicted with such clear-eyed tenderness that I felt like I was visiting with them—on their front porches or in the diner booth. Youngblood’s writing sings: I would follow her stories anywhere.” —Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medalist
*"Youngblood’s writing fluidly delivers a compelling narrative imbued with historical and cultural context... A heartwarming story with an inspiring message about creative youth activism." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*"Youngblood writes an optimistic story bursting with heart, strategically weaving discussions of equity, race, and relationships into the well-paced narrative... Packed with important life lessons, this story is also a captivating tale of summer adventure and mystery."—SLJ, starred review
*"Crafting a largely Black tween cast embarking on a summer full of family secrets, friendship, soul food, and life lessons, Youngblood (Love Like Sky) delivers a well-paced look at the importance of family legacy."—PW, starred review
"Youngblood’s thoughtful story doesn’t shy away from big subjects—Alzheimer’s, foster care, racial injustice—and Georgie is a warm and witty guide through it all. A welcoming and worthwhile exploration of Southern small-town dynamics and the all-important ties that bind both friends and family."—Booklist
Praise for Love Like Sky:
*"Youngblood's debut is a celebration of intergenerational family bonds. Readers in co-parenting or blended families especially will relate to the conflicts between Georgie's loving but imperfect parents. An openhearted, endearing, and unforgettable debut about the challenges of friendship, growing up, and the boundless love of family."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Brims with charm and compassion. Readers will immediately be rooting for G-Baby, a girl with the biggest heart, trying her hardest to help everyone around her."—Vashti Harrison, New York Times bestselling author of Little Leaders
"Readers will fall in love with Georgie and her 'blended-up' family as they navigate tough challenges and new family dynamics."—School Library Journal
"Using beautiful prose, Youngblood's debut explores the expansive love only siblings can have for one another, while capturing the heart and soul of what it means to be a blended family. The multilayered characters and compelling story will resonate with readers... Young readers will fall in love with these characters and gain a new favorite author."—Booklist
Gr 4–6—In this sequel to Love Like Sky, Georgie "G-Baby" is spending her summer in Bogalusa, LA, so her family can help care for Great Aunt Vie, who has Alzheimer's. Feeling stuck, treated like a baby but with adult expectations, Georgie meets Markie while helping out at the family diner in town. Georgie's mom is reluctant to let her spend time with Markie, who is a foster child with a big personality. As Markie and Georgie become friends, they find great purpose in their summer looking for Markie's biological mother and organizing a talent show as an Alzheimer's benefit. As Markie uncovers more of her history, the friends discover that the truth is often complex and painful, though not without hope. Youngblood writes an optimistic story bursting with heart, strategically weaving discussions of equity, race, and relationships into the well-paced narrative. Nearly the entire cast is Black, and Markie has a limb difference. Many characters, especially Markie, masterfully demonstrate respect and communication in a way that will benefit all readers. While the ending may be idealistic, it is the ending tweens will want and it is beautifully delivered. Readers need not have read Love Like Sky to thoroughly enjoy this title. VERDICT Packed with important life lessons, this story is also a captivating tale of summer adventure and mystery. A dynamic cast, intriguing plot, and essential advice make this a recommended purchase for all libraries.—Taylor Worley, Springfield P.L., OR
A tween’s summer is spent making new friends and memories—and a difference for her family and community.
Georgiana Matthews is an 11-year-old Black girl who lives in Snellville, Georgia, but is spending the summer in Bogalusa, Louisiana, with relatives: Her mother’s Aunt Vie has Alzheimer’s, and the toll it’s taken on her family is significant. Georgie wishes for more opportunities to help out, such as working at Aunt Vie’s renowned diner and the freedom to explore the area on her own, but her overprotective mother is resistant. Discontented, hopeless, and bored, Georgie decides to take the initiative and organize a talent contest to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Foundation in honor of her great-aunt. She enlists the help of 12-year-old Markie Jean, a girl who works at the diner and who was formerly fostered by Aunt Vie, and Georgie’s best friend, Nikki, who arrives for a surprise visit. So begins Georgie’s summer of newfound independence, friendship, and adventure, during which she discovers truths about herself and her family. Youngblood’s writing fluidly delivers a compelling narrative imbued with historical and cultural context. The novel highlights the significance of kinship and fighting for what you believe is right. The strong pacing and peppering of historical events and pop-culture references will have readers increasingly invested with each turn of the page. Most characters are Black.
A heartwarming story with an inspiring message about creative youth activism. (Fiction. 9-13)