cover image Summer Blue

Summer Blue

Floyd Skloot. Story Line Press, $18.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-0-934257-08-4

The author of Pilgrim's Harbor deftly pieces together a series of sharp vignettes to trace a painful yet upbeat journey of self-discovery. Jill Packard, 14, brash, rebellious and uninterested in schoolwork, agrees to her widowed father Timothy's deal-if she gets passing grades, he'll treat them both to a summer of travel and beaches. The wary but companionable duo first test the limits of their relationship in a visit with Timothy's mother near the sandy beaches of Long Island. The first in a series of sharply defined personalities, Norma Packard is insightful, feisty and able to offer exactly the right comfort to Jill after a traumatizing incident. Dad and daughter's next stop is a lakeside cabin in Michigan, where they link up with some intriguing neighbors, including a young girl with a murky past and bleak outlook who introduces Jill to some mind-altering experiences that lead to tragedy. The next leg of the journey takes the pair to an aunt's home in Oregon. Skloot blends well-limned personalities and neatly construed events with an evocative atmosphere, depicting with clarity and distinction the bumpy acquisition of wisdom. (Dec.)