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Summer of the Gypsy Moths

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,683 Ratings  ·  448 Reviews
Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom "finds herself," Stella fantasizes that someday she'll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her ...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
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Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenLiar & Spy by Rebecca SteadThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Newbery 2013
17th out of 113 books — 1,215 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenKeeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon MessengerThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
52nd out of 297 books — 667 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 10, 2012 Betsy rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2012 Samuel rated it did not like it
Shelves: children
Suppose I told you that there was a book out this year in which a pair of 11-year-old girls find their foster parent dead, and then elect to bury her in the backyard and continue on with their lives. Who would you think had written such a book? Jack Gantos? Polly Horvath? Roald Dahl, in a long-lost manuscript only recently rediscovered? What if I told you that it was actually by Sara Pennypacker, the author of Clementine, and that instead of being a black comedy, or a surreal, Daniel Pinkwater-s ...more
Monica Edinger
I started this a while ago and put it down when it seemed to be headed in a direction that didn't work for me. Then a friend on an award committee asked me to read it so now I have. I can certainly see kids who like a certain sort of realistic novel (Rules, So.B. It) enjoying this one. I did as it has some very nice touches --- the development of each girl's backstory, some very lyrical writing, and a lovely setting. But my reading was always compromised by the fact that I still found the situat ...more
Kristine Hansen
Aug 23, 2014 Kristine Hansen rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, coming-of-age
I've read a lot of reviews for this book, and while it's loved by many, I've seen the criticism that you have to suspend disbelief far too much to accept the story. I sat and thought about it a long time after finishing the story, and realize that it's the adults who take issue with the book, perhaps because no one wants to think that children could be left this neglected, be this independent so long without anyone noticing at all.

The fact is, it happens. It HAS happened that children have been
Apr 15, 2012 Aeicha rated it it was amazing
THREE WORDS: A Stunning Surprise

MY REVIEW: Sara Pennypacker’s Summer of the Gypsy Moths surprised me in the most delicious way! Surprised me with its poignancy, humor, beauty and, most of all, with the way its story gripped my heart and still hasn’t let go.

Eleven year old Stella, armed with her collected household hints from infamous Heloise, loves order and rules, which is why she likes living with her great-aunt Louise on Cape Cod. After Stella’s grandmother dies, her flighty mother abandoned
May 20, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2016
Well this was just wonderful. Second book in a row where a child's mother has abandoned her and would you believe it was just coincidental timing? While both this and Love Aubrey involved dead relatives and abandoning mothers, I found this less sad. I was most drawn to the idea of the two kids getting away with no adults finding out great-aunt Louise had died. I always loved stories like this-The Beniker Gang, anyone? (based on the book Dear Lola)
I thought the Cape Cod setting was great and lov
Nov 18, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
A show-stopper! I think everyone who reads 20 pages into this book would be completely immersed. While it certainly is a bit harrowing, I think it is harrowing done right. Adolescent books can be so important in providing perspective and helping children navigate difficult life concepts. All children eventually need to learn about the unsettling themes in this book, and what better place to vicariously navigate those themes than in a beautifully written, well-crafted book? The shock value alone ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 03, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
Mar 06, 2013 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Floated as a potential Newbery winner for 2013, this book does not disappoint.

It is yet another YA book dealing with the subject of children wise way beyond their years because of situations life has dealt them.

Stella's mother is unpredictable. Parenthood is not a concept or reality her mind can comprehend. Leaving Stella alone, without supervision or food, is a common occurrence. Making empty promises that sound convincing, sooner than later prove unfounded and hurtful.

When the authorities inte
Elizabeth K.
Oct 04, 2012 Elizabeth K. rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-new-reads
I found myself enjoying this more than I thought I would, given the weird premise. Two young girls, trying (fairly successfully) to hide the fact that they are on their own for a summer. Stella is living in her great-aunt's house on Cape Cod, with Angel, a foster child. As one would expect, at first they don't get along, but then have to work together to pull off their plan. The strongest point for me was Stella's thoughtfulness -- she's a practical kid, yet musing at the same time. I loved her ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Susann rated it really liked it
Recommended to Susann by: NYT Book Review
An uncomfortable premise to an enjoyable read.

The hidden parts do not contain any true spoilers and the major event I refer to happens within the first few pages. But to be kind to those who hate knowing any plot points in a book....
(view spoiler)
Oct 23, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker is the story of foster child Angel, and twelve year old Stella, who are living with Stella's great aunt Louise by the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, who secretly assume responibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies, and the girls are afraid of returning to the foster care system. (Publisher summary)

The cover, which I really like, belies the sudden turn of fate that moves the story along into its themes of broken fam
Jul 25, 2012 Amanda rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Summer of the Gypsy Moths was not what I was expecting from the author of the charming Clementine series. The title and cover implied, at least to me, a similarly innocent type of story but that didn't turn out to be the case.

Two girls who have been abandoned by their mothers are living with "Aunt Louise" as her foster kids, although one of them is actually her great niece. One day Louise unexpectedly dies of what is probably a heart attack, and the girls, reluctant to go back into the foster ca
Jan 16, 2013 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I really enjoyed this book. Two girls in the foster care system are staying with the great aunt of one of the girls. They fight. Something tragic happens, and they learn to love each other, new talents, new perspectives, etc. They also gain hope after life and/or their families treated them poorly. I love that it's touching and cute without being cheesy.

The ending may be a little cheesy, but I teared up. I always have a lot of sympathy and love for young characters feeling alone. I pictured a fe
Barb Middleton
May 26, 2012 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it
If you like a character-driven story then you can savor this emotional waltz through the eyes of Stella. If you are more of a shake 'n shimmy type person, then you might want a little more action. Personally? I'm a shimmy up the tree type person but I found the plotintriguingenough to suck me in from start to finish.

Eleven-year-old Stella likes rules and cleanliness. They give order to a not so orderly life. Her mother can't take care of her. Shoot. Her mother can't even take care of herself. St
Sep 07, 2012 Tami rated it really liked it
I was mightily surprised by Summer of the Gypsy Moths. I am not familiar with Gypsy Moths and so the title actually put me off a little. I heartily enjoy Sara Pennypacker's Clementine series and so I was willing to give this one a try due to the author.

The main character is 11-year-old Stella. Stella has come to live with her great-aunt after being removed by Child Services from her mother's care. Stella's mother has a history of being unable or unwilling to take care of her daughter. Now that h
Destinee Sutton
I was honestly a little shocked by the direction this book took. Shocked, a little grossed out, and kind of disbelieving. Two young girls make a wild decision to take charge of their lives when tragedy befalls their caregiver. Can you guess what happens?

Stella and Angel's emotional lives were very well written and the story was moving, but I really couldn't get over the strangeness of what they did and how hard Pennypacker had to work to make it okay for the reader. Eventually the story moves on
Jun 13, 2012 Vicki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tween
What is it like to not have caring parents in your life? Stella is living with her great aunt Louise at a Cape Cod cottage colony/resort where they are the caretakers. Angel is also an unwanted girl about Stella's age. They mix together like oil and water, until Louise is found dead in her chair one day after the girls get home from school. Together the girls decide to bury Louise in the garden, and take care of the small resort so they don't go back into the foster care system. George who is th ...more
May 31, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Summer of the Gypsy Moths is the new book from author Sara Pennypacker, who writes the Clementine books. This book ended up being somewhat irresistible if a bit imperfect.

Synopsis: Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom "finds herself," Stella fantasizes that someday she'll come bac
Linda Bartosik
Aug 15, 2012 Linda Bartosik rated it it was amazing
As reviewed in my daily blog, Another Day Goes Bu.....

Tomorrow, children's author Sara Pennypacker, will be doing a signing at Titcomb's Bookshop here in Sandwich, at 4pm. She will be introducing her latest middle grade novel, The Summer of the Gypsy Moth, so yesterday I downloaded and read the book. I absolutely loved it. Once again Pennypacker masters the art of weaving internal and external conflict and takes her characters on a journey of change and growth.

Pennypacker tells the story of tw
Sep 22, 2015 Heather rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2012 Wendy rated it it was ok
I might have liked this okay if it didn't feel so very heavy... doughy or leaden comes to mind. There's no levity, and a surprising lack of sense of adventure. Usually I eat up "kids keeping house" books with a spoon. But in this, Stella's love of housekeeping/cleaning is pretty obviously pathological, which takes all the fun out of it.

As a Newbery possibility--I don't think so.The subjects do not come to life as they have in Pennypacker's other books. The setting is certainly well done. The plo
May 06, 2016 Eunice rated it really liked it
This is a good book, but I would reserve it for 14+ considering the dead body in the garden and some language (cr-p and taking God's name in vain, in multiple languages). It is not horribly gruesome at all and it actually works as a story and characterization is very good. I could not put it down and I would actually give it 4 1/2 stars.
Sheila Welch
Apr 12, 2013 Sheila Welch rated it it was amazing
So many readers have already written reviews of this book that I want to add just a few comments. Those who find the basic situation hard to believe may not be aware of just how desperate kids can become and how clever and independent they can be. Most middle class children have closely supervised lives, but many poor or neglected children slip through the adult net and function basically on their own, using their wits. So I had no problem with the idea of two girls doing what these two did. In ...more
Dawnella Adams
Jun 27, 2014 Dawnella Adams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fictional story about friendship and growing up. I liked all the characters and enjoyed getting to know them. Appreciated the idea that sometimes you have no choice but to make the best out of any situation.
Brandy Painter
Basically yet another MG novel featuring a plucky slightly quirky girl who has been a abandoned by parent(s) and is searching for home and community. Sara Pennypacker is a good writer so it is well written, but nothing new is explored that hasn't already been done and done again and then done some more in the genre. The voice of the novel is extremely introspective and I found myself getting bored in several places. Also there is a serious issue with the entire concept and its plausibility that ...more
Michal Hope
I had a hard time getting through this book. If it weren't for the interesting relationships in the story, I probably would have stopped reading it. But I wanted to see how they resolved some issues so I kept at it. I definitely think this novel is more suited for upper elementary and 6th grade. I have a hard time selling this to students, especially in 7th and 8th grade. With the death of Louise and foster family aspect, I can see some students being interested. That's why I'm only giving this ...more
Aug 22, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
A and I listened to an audiobook version of this story when we found it on a display at the summer reading program of our local library. I had no idea what the story was about. Had the narrator not been so good, or had we been reading the book itself, I probably would have stopped very early on . But the narrator compelled us both to keep listening, and I am glad I did. While I had to suspend belief (with quite a bit of annoyance at the improbability of it all) for the same reasons other reviewe ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Christie rated it liked it
Another ORCA nominee for next year's award in the upper elementary category, this book is, well, meh. The suspension of disbelief required in order to really buy the plot was just too great to overcome. The premise is that two girls are being cared for by an elderly woman who rents out cottages to summer travelers. She dies. The girls, not wanting to be taken away and put into the system, bury her in the backyard and begin to run the business themselves. Um, yeah. The likelihood of that working ...more
Alyssa Roberts
Dec 03, 2014 Alyssa Roberts rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-talk
At first glance, this is the story of two girls who form an unlikely alliance and friendship. But dig deeper, and you'll find ties like, "strands of spider silk: practically invisible, maybe, but strong as steel" which are woven throughout this fiction novel. Stella and Angel barely talk to each other in the small house they share with Stella's great-aunt Louise, the caretaker for a small group of rental cottages on Cape Cod. When Louise dies suddenly the girls are forced to work together in ord ...more
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“I see a broken shell and I remind myself that something might have needed setting free. See, broken things always have a story, don't they?” 4 likes
“I felt better when I got there. I don't know what it is about a beach - the drifty, fake-coconut scent of suntan lotion, the endless whoosh of little waves lapping the shore, or the way the sun beats down so bright and hot, you feel too baked to think - but when I was there, I could almost forget everything. I floated in the cool water, too tired to actually swim, then flopped down on a towel and read. I read a lot." -Stella” 0 likes
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