Monday, February 6, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Bittersweet Summer by Anne Warren Smith

Release Date: March 1, 2012

NetGalley Advanced Readers Copy

About The Book: It's a strange summer for Katie Jordan. Her neighbor Claire is scheming again. Her best friend is away. Her dad says they might have to move. And on top of everything, her mom's country music show is coming to town. This funny, tender novel about friendships, family, and changing lives is a sequel to Turkey Monster Thanksgiving and Tails of Spring Break.
First Line: The Fourth Grade room was unusually quiet as the line of sad kids shuffled forward. 
Another Great Line:"I wondered if there were any books about kids having to move. Probably not. It was too terrible to read about." (35)

What Others Are Saying:   "Third in a series, this effort makes reference to the other works (Tails of Spring Break, 2005, etc.) but nonetheless stands alone well. Katie’s first-person voice feels fresh and authentic. Her yearning—for a real mother and to not move—juxtaposed against Tyler’s poignant pathos, as he only checks out library books about babies and their mothers, builds "MOTHER-mouse caves" for pretend baby mice and confronts his wayward mom while she’s onstage, all add rich emotional depth to this tender, believable middle-grade book. 
     This satisfying novel is recommended for its realistic situations and nicely drawn, eminently human characters." —Kirkus Reviews

What I Thought: When I realized that Bittersweet Summer was the third in a series, I decided to seek out the other two. Each book is delightful with the right balance of fun and tension. Warren has a keen sense of voice. Katie's personality is distinctive and clear from the moment the story begins. I love how the author has laced real honesty in the actions of her characters. When Katie says,"As we climbed in, I hoped Clare wouldn't notice the banana peel that was stuck between the front seats." it conveys Katie's self consciousness about how "perfect" Claire is.  You get a true sense of how her mind works and her unique perspective.

Tuesday Mourning

Interview on Scribd Portfolio on Directory of Illustration

About The Author: Anne Warren Smith
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Who: Anne grew up in Ticonderoga, a small town in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. She plays with several grandchildren and has a dog named Lucy who will be the star of a future Katie Jordan book. When not writing, she swims laps at the pool, makes jewelry with tiny beads, knits sweaters, and walks the Oregon beaches or the trails of the Arizona desert.  

       She teaches classes in writing fiction and memoir in Corvallis, Oregon, and has led workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest.  She lives in Tucson during the winter 
 Other Books: 
       When Claire, Katie's perfect classmate and neighbor, plans a fancy Thanksgiving dinner, Katie begins to wonder if the relaxed day she, her father, and her messy little brother usually enjoy means they are not a "real" family. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving in the family's traditional way by eating pizza in their pajamas, nine-year-old Katie wants to create the perfect holiday, but by Thanksgiving Day, Katie has invited guests Dad didn't expect, festooned the house with what may be poison oak, and set the sweet potatoes on fire. Ultimately everyone sits down to a most unusual dinner—one that succeeds because it comes from the heart.

Everyone, it seems, is going somewhere fun for spring break—everyone except Katie Jordan and her family. Even her best friend, Sierra, is going to Hawaii! But then, Katie realizes she’s not the only one being left behind—what about all those poor lonely pets? And so Katie sets out to save her spring break by starting a pet-sitting business, starting with Sierra’s cat. But Katie hadn’t bargained on having a business partner—especially not someone as awful as Claire Plummer! When Claire’s dad has to go out of town, she has to stay in Katie’s room, and before they know it, they have a moody cat, an excitable dog, and dozens of fish to look after—together. But do the two girls have more in common than they realized?

Anne Warren Smith will be joining us for a visit on February 15th. If you have any specific questions you would like to ask add those to the comments below. 

Don't forget to check out the other Marvelous Middle Grade
Reviewers in my side bar.


  1. My heart is tugged just by the two lines you shared. This sounds like something kids can truly relate to.

  2. Great pick. I haven't heard of this series and this is why I LOVE MMGM.

  3. Thank you for sharing these! I have decided I need to create a MMGM Shelfari or Goodreads, the to read list is getting rather large, lol.

  4. I haven't heard of these books at all! Thanks for the heads-up, Pam. They sound adorable.

  5. I love your revviews, Pam. Your research is great.

  6. The two lines you shared really got to me. Thank you.
    I wish I had a question but I'm just discovering these series.
    Will be looking forward to the author's visit.


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