Gold in the Days of Summer: A Novella
It's the summer of 1979, Annie's 13th birthday is approaching, and change is in the sweltering air—none of it welcome. It's Annie's first summer without her best friend Ava, who is away at camp; the Vietnam veteran who lives next door, a confidante and adviser, is moving away; Connor, her neighborhood crush, seems smitten by the new girl moving into the vet's house; and her grandmother is sinking into dementia, something her parents try to shield her from. Annie's soulful attempts to sort things out are insightful and realistically muddled. Pogorzelski captures the sense of a girl holding onto the last days of a waning childhood—Annie prefers her memory-stained old sneakers to a new back-to-school pair, and she pans for gold in the local creek, which holds only rocks ("maybe everything was gold if you just looked at it the right way")—but who also recognizes that her life is at a turning point and that she's growing up. Relatable family dynamics enrich this promising debut. Ages 12–18.