Review: The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

Book Reviews

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt

3 Stars

What I liked about this story was the way it transported me to summertime as a 13-year-old. It made me reminisce about bike rides around the neighborhood, with the sun shining on my face, trips to the local public pool and to the park…the feeling of freedom and innocence all rolled into this one book.

Drew was such a likable, sweet character. And this is the first summer of her life where she feels she’s missing out on life. So with the help of her new stranger friend, Emmett, she begins life outside her family and their Cheese Shop. But Emmett is not exactly an open book when it comes to his life. He just appears suddenly when he wants and without warning, and she doesn’t really know any details about him, aside from the fact that he’s nice to her and knows a lot about rats. She does know somehow that she can trust him though. And because of this, when he finally spills his guts, they embark on a scary adventure together. I say scary because I wouldn’t have had the guts at that age to do what they did.

I also really liked the side characters in this story a lot, especially Swoozie and Nick, who loved Drew just because she was Drew.

Overall this was a fast, sweet, engaging story. The ending wasn’t your typical HEA, but it was real, which is most important. I really loved how engaging and honest Dana Reinhardt’s writing was and I’m definitely going to look into getting her other books.

Book Info

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
Published by Wendy Lamb Books
Pub Date: July 12th 2011
Pages: 224
Format: eBook | Source: Library
Genres: ContemporaryMiddle Grade
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Drew’s a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad’s Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom’s cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It’s the summer before eighth grade and Drew’s days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he’s there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

8 Responses to “Review: The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt”

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    As much as I love a good HEA, I think realistic is far more important. I could really use a good “back in the day” type book lately, so maybe I’ll have to look into this one.

    Jac @ For Love and Books

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    Nancy Cudis

    i’ve been wanting to read this book. Thanks for the great review; makes me want to read it all the more. retweeted

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    I just love Reinholdt’s characters. She is just so good at writing teens. I have loved every one of her books that I’ve read. I would definitely recommend you read some more of hers.

  4. Avatar


    The rat boy is kind of a turn off for me…but Markus FREAKING Zusak is quoted on the front. So yeah, I’m going to give it a whirl. :)

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