Susan Capaldi, children’s book consultant at Between the Covers in Harbor Springs, Mich., shares her enthusiasm for Sara Pennypacker’s Summer of the Gypsy Moths, a May release from Balzer + Bray.
When I heard that Sara Pennypacker had a new book being published, I immediately thought, “Great! An entertaining summer read. Who better creates spunky and unforgettable characters?” Well, Summer of the Gypsy Moths delivers spunky and unforgettable characters—and much, much more. Pennypacker is a brilliant storyteller, weaving together people and place, dreams and heartaches, secrets and connections. The story of tweens Stella and Angel unfolds with humor in the midst of tragic events that allow an unlikely friendship to blossom.
Ever-optimistic Stella has moved in with her great-aunt Louise, who lives on Cape Cod and manages four identical vacation cottages. Louise is a salty yet loving woman who also has taken in foster child Angel in hopes the girls will become friends. Instead, the two are like oil and water. Stella thrives on routine and can quote just about any of Heloise's helpful hints. She is eternally hopeful that her irresponsible and fragile mother will return to live with them. Angel, orphaned and guarded, feigns a tough exterior, yet is starving for comfort and a home. When Louise suddenly dies, the girls must depend on each other. Determined to survive, they form a bond and make some unusual decisions, including keeping Louise’s death a secret and maintaining the cottages themselves.
"All broken things have a story," says George, a kind neighbor who befriends the girls. And Pennypacker’s novel is a wonderfully told story. This is the perfect book for fans of Sarah Weeks, Katherine Hannigan, and Jeanne Birdsall.
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $15.99 May ISBN 978-0-06-196420-6