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.
The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
Published by Wendy Lamb Books
Pub Date: July 12th 2011
Format: eBook | Source: Library
Genres: Contemporary, Middle 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.