Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari

Summer is the perfect time for June to work on perfecting her talent: pie making. She's sure that if she can just find the right combination, she can win a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. It's hard to stay focused on baking, though. Vermont has become a state filled with political tension around the legalization of civil unions, and many citizens are determined to "take back" Vermont. This upsets June, her mom, and her mom's girlfriend, and sets them apart from many people in their town. June loves her mom, but she also wants to blend in with other families ...and having two moms is definitely a way to stick out. June is sure of one thing: it's going to be a long summer.

In many ways, this is a very traditional middle grade book. A girl worried about fitting in and making/keeping friends, who doesn't get along with her mom's partner, who has arguments with her parents, who's determined to be successful at something she loves doing. Maybe one day it won't be a big deal if the character is a girl who has two parents of the same sex (sadly, I don't think we're quite at that stage yet). June's struggle felt organic for the character - she loved her mom and wanted her to be happy, but was conflicted because she didn't feel close to her mom's girlfriend and was unhappy about the attention that her mom's relationship brought to the family. I think it's a good thing to have books that reflect a wide spectrum of kids experiences, especially when it comes to GLBTQ families. On a different note, I spent many summers at a cottage not far from Vermont and Lake Champlain, so it was neat for me to read a book set in that area.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Visit Jennifer Gennari's website for more information about her.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson
The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson

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