Reenie loves everything about her family’s summer resort, but even she has to admit that things haven’t been perfect lately. So when Gwendolyn Cates arrives to teach dance, it seems like the answer to everyone’s prayers.
Gwen is glamorous and cool, and in between dance lessons Reenie begins to see that there is more to life than fishing, campfires and climbing trees. But as the dance heats up, she discovers that being a teenager is a lot more complicated than wearing the right clothes or knowing the right songs. Ready or not, she is about to have the most unforgettable summer of her life.
The year is 1962 and Reenie Starr wants nothing more than to spend her life at her family’s resort, Sandy Shores, and hopefully run the place one day (even though she’s a girl). As the middle child, Reenie spends a great deal of her time observing her family: she sees the sadness in her mother’s eyes, she hears her brother, Bo, sneaking out in the middle of the night, and she knows that her beloved Sandy Shores is in trouble. So when her mom suggests hiring Gwendolyn Cates, a prima ballerina from the big city of Toronto, to teach dance at the resort, Reenie sees it as the solution to all her problems.
Summer Days, Starry Nights by Vikki VanSickle (Scholastic Canada) breathes summer—you can practically smell the trees and the suntan oil as you read about Sandy Shores. Having grown up on the shore, Vikki’s descriptions left me wanting to be back there, out in the sun and splashing around in the shallows.
This book surprised me from the first chapter and took me somewhere I did not expect—which is saying something, believe me. Summer Days, Starry Nights is a lot more than a coming-of-age tale about a girl at a lake resort. It deals with the tough issue of depression, in a time when depression really wasn’t talked about, and the impact it has on family. On the surface, this book is as light and refreshing as a summer breeze, but there are storm clouds in Reenie’s sky. It is at once beautiful and sad. The tone reminded me very much of the movie Now and Then (if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now)—fun, yet meaningful. Poignant.
Very character driven and perfectly paced, Summer Days, Starry Nights is a must read. Add it to your summer to-be-read list—you’ll be glad you did.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)
This book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
All be sure to check out my recap from the Summer Days, Starry Nights launch.