Summer Begins

Elizabeth Doyle Carey, Author . Little, Brown $10.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-73690-9

Launching the four-book Callahan Cousins series, this appealing paper-over-board debut novel is set on a small island, where four 12-year-old cousins are spending their first "solo summer" with their kind and spunky grandmother, Gee. The story centers on Hillary, an only child who is "still sad inside about the unraveling of her parents' marriage." Carey gives distinct personalities to each of the cousins, with whom Hillary shares her goal for the summer: she wants to revive a competition dating back to their fathers' boyhoods—between the Callahans and the Bickets (it entails planting a family flag on a nearby island and ripping down the rival family's flag when it is planted in its place). Kate believes that winning this game "once and for all" will prove that she's a true Callahan and make her father proud of her. Though feisty Neeve jumps on board immediately, bookish Phoebe and Kate, a self-described "scaredy-cat" take some persuading. The girls also enlist the help of two likable teenage boys, and Hillary devises a strategy with staying power. Carey's narrative harks back to wholesome tales of a bygone era, but the author also includes enough contemporary observations to keep the book current (e.g., Neeve tells Phoebe she dresses like a "hippie with a housekeeper")—and a "sneak peak" at Home Sweet Home , due in September, will bring readers back to read the rest. Ages 8-12. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-316-73696-1
Ebook - 978-0-316-02935-3
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