Synopses & Reviews
Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.
When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, one crazy summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them — an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.
"Delphine is the pitch-perfect older sister, wise beyond her years, an expert at handling her siblings...while the girls are caught up in the difficulties of adults, their resilience is celebrated and energetically told with writing that snaps off the page." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Delphine's growing awareness of injustice on a personal and universal level is smoothly woven into the story in poetic language that will stimulate and move readers." Publishers Weekly
"The setting and time period are as vividly realized as the characters, and readers will want to know more about Delphine and her sisters after they return to Brooklyn." Horn Book (starred review)
"Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading." School Library Journal (starred review)
"Regimented, responsible, strong-willed Delphine narrates in an unforgettable voice, but each of the sisters emerges as a distinct, memorable character, whose hard-won, tenuous connections with their mother build to an aching, triumphant conclusion." Booklist (starred review)
"In One Crazy Summer Williams-Garcia presents a child's-eye view of the Black Panther movement within a powerful and affecting story of sisterhood and motherhood. Monica Edinger, The New York Times
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, One Crazy Summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 in search of the mother who abandoned them. It's an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.
About the Author
Winner of the PEN/Norma Klein Award, Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of five other distinguished novels for young adults: Blue Tights
, Every Time a Rainbow Dies
, Fast Talk on a Slow Track
, Like Sisters on the Homefront
, and No Laughter Here
, the latter four of which were chosen as ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Like Sisters on the Homefront
was also named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a best book of the year by ALA Booklist
, School Library Journal
, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
, and Publishers Weekly
. She has also written an acclaimed novel for middle-grade readers, One Crazy Summer
, which the New York Times
called "a powerful and affecting story of sisterhood and motherhood."
Rita Williams-Garcia is currently a faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. She has two daughters, Michelle and Stephanie, and lives in Jamaica, New York.