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My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summerby Jennifer Gennari
Synopses & Reviews
Lake Champlain was a friend I could count on. I knew her every mood—sometimes she was flat like a cookie sheet, and other times she was whipped up like meringue on a butterscotch pie. Thats the way I felt, too. Ever since Eva had moved in with Mom and me last month, I was as changeable as the lake. In this middle grade novel from debut author Jennifer Gennari, twelve-year-old June Farrell is sure of only one thing—shes great at making pies and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But a backlash against Vermonts civil union law threatens her familys security and their business, the Stillwater Marina Shop, where June and her mom sell pies. The uproar strains Junes friendship with Tina and, more importantly, her relationship with her mother, MJ. To make matters more complicated for June, Eva—MJs girlfriend—moves in to their home and, to top it all off with a cherry, MJ and Eva ask June to be the flower girl in their wedding. Junes complex struggle is tempered by the support of her best friend Luke and Ms. Flynn, the town librarian, both of whom urge June not to give up on entering the pie competition—and, more poignantly, not to give up on her family. In the face of adversity and prejudice, June finds the courage to question, to be emotive, and to just be herself all while she stands up to her greatest fears.
"Set against the backdrop of the legalization of civil unions for gay couples in Vermont in 2000, Gennari's debut novel spends the summer with 12-year-old June Farrell, an accomplished pie maker who is still getting used to living with her mother's partner, Eva. 'I understood that Mom went out on dates with women, and sometimes I met them. But no one lasted. Not until Eva.' June's uneasiness is compounded when her mother and Eva announce that they are planning a civil union ceremony, just as a local antigay 'Take Back Vermont' campaign is gaining traction, testing June's friendships and emotions. Readers won't have to look hard to find metaphors that allude to June's turmoil — the churning waters of Lake Champlain, a burnt-pie smell that 'seemed to linger for days' — and Gennari doesn't gloss over June's discomfort with her mother's relationship, her unpleasantness toward Eva, or her desire for a father. It's a realistic account of a family coming together under stress, as June finds inner strength that brings her several triumphs and helps her stand up for her family. Ages 9 — 12. Agent: Alison Picard." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
June has a lot on her plate in this middle-grade novel debut: bullying, backlash to her lesbian mom's gay marriage, and a baking competition are all served up for our brave heroine. Does June have what it takes to turn her mixed-up berry blue summer into something as sweet as wild berry pie?
When what Mary Mae is learning in Miss Sizemore's class about fossils and eras and rock formations doesn't seem to make sense with what Mary Mae is learning at Sunday School, she starts asking questions and finds that getting a straight answer might be harder than it looks...
Ten-year-old Mary Mae loves to sing hymns with her Granny, go to Sunday School, and learn about trilobites. She has lots of questions about how the earth looked millions of years ago. Trouble is, Mary Mae’s mother thinks it's wrong to believe the world is that old. Mama believes God created it six thousand years ago and she believes that nobody should teach Mary Mae otherwise. When Mary Mae starts taking her questions to church, asking how God created the earth in six days or how eight people could take care of animals on an ark, Mama puts her foot down: homeschooling. Mary Mae must decide where her loyalties lie: with science and Miss Sizemore, with God and Mama, or somewhere in the middle.
Twelve-year-old June Farrell is sure of one thing—shes great at making pies—and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But a backlash against Vermonts civil union law threatens her familys security and their business. Even when faced with bullying, June wont give up on winning the blue ribbon; more importantly, she wont give up on her family.
About the Author
Sandra Dutton grew up the daughter of Sunday school teachers in Ohio. She was as curious about Genesis as she was about the fossils in her backyard. She says, “I wrote this book for kids like me who love discovering things, whether in the Bible, the backyard, or a history book. I want them to have the courage to ask questions.” She has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Maine.
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