Review Detail

A busy and unusual summer
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
After the events of Love Like Sky, Georgie (who still struggles with family members calling her G-Baby) finds herself traveling from her suburban Atlanta home and all of her summer plans to Bogalusa, Louisiana to help her Great Aunt Vie. Vie runs the local, popular diner, which Georgie's aunt and other friends and relatives have been helping to run since Vie is suffering from Alzheimer's, which is getting worse. Georgie hopes to work in the diner, but instead gets stuck do household chores. When she goes to the diner, she find out that Markie is working there. Markie is a tiny bit old than Georgie, was born with a limb difference, and was in foster care with Vie, but is now with a woman named Roselle. She's not quite sure what happened with her mother, who abandoned her as an infant. When Georgie's best friend Nikki comes to visit, the two want to help Vie, and decide to put on a talent show to raise money for Alzheimer's research. This takes a lot of time, and Georgie is also helping Markie find out about her mother, consulting the library as well as local residents who are familiar with the town and the people in it. When Georgie and Markie's family lives turn out to be connected, will this change Markie's future?
Good Points
It's good to see extended family portrayed in middle grade literature; all too often, books are limited to children and parents, with the occasional grandparent. Georgie's parents' situation is also a good inclusion-- there are not many books depicting parents who have remarried and have other children, although many of my students have family dynamics like that. I would have liked to see more of the family dynamic with the father and stepmother, since that was so interesting in the first book. The small town setting reminded me a bit of Strong's Just South of Home, and Georgie's visit to the mayor's office to ask for a permit for her talent show was fun. Readers can benefit from seeing young characters who embrace a sense of agency and Get Things Done.

Marki's limb difference is handled sensitively, and her reactions to how others treat her seem accurate. I appreciate that she is shown on the cover; I've had several students with limb differences, and can't think of any middle grade books other than Bowling's Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus that portray this.

This was a great sequel to a strong first book and will be enjoyed by readers who want to read about blended families in books like Draper's Blended, Lenz's The Stepmom Shakeup, Payne's The Thing About Leftovers, and Davis's Peas and Carrots.
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