cover image The Summer I Learned to Fly

The Summer I Learned to Fly

Dana Reinhardt. Random/Lamb, $15.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-73954-2

Reinhardt (The Things a Brother Knows) traces the friendship formed between two lonely adolescents in this atmospheric novel set in California during the 1980s. Thirteen-year-old Drew first runs into Emmett, a scraggly, slightly older boy, when she is looking for her lost pet rat in the alley behind her mother's gourmet cheese shop. Though reluctant to talk about himself, Emmett draws Drew into his world, eventually confiding his secret dream: to find a legendary spring with healing powers. Betraying her mother's trust by running away from home, Drew accompanies Emmett on an eye-opening journey to find the magic waters, during which she learns some bittersweet lessons about love and sacrifice. Laced with mystery and fascinating details about Drew's chief interests%E2%80%94rats and cheese%E2%80%94this quiet novel invites readers to share in its heroine's deepest yearnings, changing moods, and difficult realizations. Strong imagery, such as a description of the Golden Gate Bridge%E2%80%94"First faint and blurred like a watercolor painting, and then strong and vibrant, an electric red against a pale blue sky"%E2%80%94will stay with readers. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (July)