Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1403
Summertime and Ice Cream
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Juliet's parents have separated, and she has moved into her grandparents' beach cottage with her mom and older sister, Miranda. It's hard to make new friends and get settled into her new community, but luckily, she meets Emma on one of her first trips to the beach. Emma is sending out a note in a bottle and encourages Juliet to do one, as well. They include their e mail addresses but no other identifying information, just to be safe. When Juliet gets an answer right away from a person who seems to be her own age and seems to share her interests, she is a little afraid it's really one of the stinky boys in her school, but is hopeful it is not. While Juliet's mother and sister are busy with their own lives, Emma spends more and more time with Emma and her family, who run the local ice cream parlor and seem to be very organized and efficient, with lots of fun ideas like a job jar lottery. There is also a local book mobile run by an older couple, the Buttons, and soon Juliet is feeling much more at home. She definitely misses her father, who has stayed behind in their old community, but she is learning new ways of communicating with him.
Good Points
Every child who has divorced parents has a different story, so it's good to see a variety of different ones. Moving is often part of that experience, and Juliet (and the reader!) is lucky that she has moved to such an interesting place and was lucky enough to meet a friend fairly quickly. There is still plenty of drama, but it is reassuring that in the end, Juliet is able to construct a new life for herself, and is able to adapt her relationships with her family to fit her new circumstances. All of the characters have very realistic reactions to the situation-- her mother is stressed but trying to move on, Miranda fits in quickly but still takes time to make sure that Juliet is okay, and we get a fairly vague idea of how the father is coping, in just the same way that his existence is frustratingly shadowy for Juliet as well.



Emma's family is a reassuring presence, and the beach setting makes this a winning choice for readers who enjoyed Greenwald's Dog Beach, Hannigan's Cupcake Cousins or Beil's Summer at Forsaken Lake and I was glad to see that the cover is similar to Schroeder's other middle grade novels, Keys to the City, Sealed with a Secret and My Secret Guide to Paris, since this will make this book easy to find for her fans. This will make a great fall reading book for students who aren't quite ready to be done with summer vacation!
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