Gossamer Summer

Gossamer Summer
Age Range
Release Date
May 30, 2023
Buy This Book
It all started when Jojo saw a fairy but said she didn’t. After all, fairies aren’t real—and if they were, they wouldn’t look like that! No, Jojo did not see a small, green, muddy…person. Her sisters have no problem believing, though. They beg Jojo to finish the story she started telling long ago, but since the death of their beloved grandmother, Jojo hasn’t felt like talking about magic, even if her sisters still believe.

Instead, the sisters decide to make fairy gardens to entice the new kid across the street to come play. Their plan works, but it also catches the attention of creatures that bear an uncanny resemblance to the bedraggled fairies Jojo invented. Stories can’t come to life, though—can they? Yet the danger is real enough. With the questionable help of a very self-satisfied cat, the sisters and their new friend, Theo, set off on an adventure to save the fairies from a flock of terrifying birds made of bones.

But making everything right again will require a different kind of magic: the magic of sharing stories…and letting go.

Editor review

1 review
The power of storytelling
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Dealing with grief is an issue as JoJo’s grandmother died the year before. It is especially traumatic for her since she was present when her grandmother first became sick and storytelling evokes sad feelings. JoJo’s sisters have always enjoyed her stories about fairies but she doesn’t want to share them. The idea of fairies touches a nerve for JoJo and she’s not ready to deal with those feelings. JoJo’s mother doesn’t pay much attention to her daughters as she’s busy trying to meet a deadline for a book she’s writing. This situation adds to JoJo’s emotional turmoil although her sisters don’t seem to share the same angst. Young readers will enjoy the unusual antics of JoJo’s younger twin sisters as they’re into imaginary blood, guts, and “throw-up”.
The author’s strategy for introducing fairies reminds me a bit of a movie where something lurks in the shadows, just out of sight. JoJo thinks she sees one out of the corner of her eye but it quickly disappears when she tries to focus on it. The blurry images make her wonder if it was all in her imagination. However, the food her twin sisters leave out for fairies disappears so something must have been there. Birds? Squirrels? The uncertainty causes readers to eagerly anticipate the moment fairies make a definitive appearance in the story.
This book explores the power of storytelling through the imagination and emotions of an audience. Words and sentences create mental images that make stories come to life but this book takes it a step further. JoJo’s sisters remember and relive her tales from the past and add their own twists when JoJo refuses to retell them. She doesn’t understand the potency of her words until she notices things that can’t be possible. The plot moves from playful summer days in a remote part of town to an imaginary world the characters didn’t know existed. The influence of JoJo’s stories is the catalyst for the changes.
What didn’t work as well:
The book has a nice story but it doesn’t develop much tension or suspense. There’s something the kids need to do but there’s no sense of urgency or imminent danger. Honestly, most readers will quickly think of the solution when the problem is introduced even though the characters don’t think of it until the plot’s climax.
The Final Verdict:
This is an enjoyable story of kids having the freedom to enjoy summer days. Their imaginations take them on an adventure with fairies that will force JoJo to face her emotions head-on. Give this book a shot!
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