cover image The Summer of June

The Summer of June

Jamie Sumner. Atheneum, $17.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-534486-02-7

Tired of “being the nervous mouse girl who is scared all the time,” 11-year-old June—who quiets anxious thoughts by pulling out strands of her hair—shaves her head at the beginning of summer, deciding that she and her single librarian mother will “own our power as fierce, independent females.” Though eliminating this coping mechanism doesn’t curb the “itchy worry,” it does lead to her wearing an electric blue wig. And her new vibe attracts the friendship of poetry-reciting Homer Juarez, whom June meets at the library. Following an incident with her mother’s strict boss, who attempts to destroy Miss Rumphius–inspired seedlings, Homer and June start a secret garden behind the library, where June finds respite in caring for vulnerable plants. Soon, though, the garden and emboldening wig lead to June impulsively stopping her anxiety meds, with disastrous results. In a love letter to libraries told in June’s thoughtful voice, Sumner (Tune It Out) vividly traces one adolescent’s anxiety and its attendant difficulties. June and her mom are white; racial diversity is implied for secondary characters. Ages 10–up. Agent: Keely Boeving, WordServe Literary. (May)