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Summer of the Gypsy Moths

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  3,160 ratings  ·  418 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 121 books — 1,175 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenHigh in School by Salman AdityaThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
57th out of 337 books — 641 voters

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Community Reviews

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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Kristine Pratt
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
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.
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 4 of 5 stars
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)
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
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
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
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
Michelle Isenhoff
If you’re looking for a sweet story, you probably wouldn’t consider one in which two twelve-year-old girls bury an old lady in the garden and lie about her death so they don’t have to be shipped off into foster care. But that’s just what Stella and Angel do, and sweet is just the word I’d use for this one.

Stella has spent her whole life searching for threads to tie her to the earth. She’s always felt she’s spinning out of control, ever since her mom left her. Grams’ house was well-grounded, but
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sheila Welch
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
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
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
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
This is the second year in a row that a likely Newbery contender sets children in a world where they need to use their skill and wits to survive parental neglect (the 2011 title would be Small as an Elephant). As a child I remember reading a lot of stories about children using their wits to survive the natural world (such as Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Swiss Family Robinson). There were instances of children being alone because their parents had died or had to go away to work, or the c ...more
This is the first book for older children (late elementary/ early middle school) that I have read from Sara Pennypacker (of "Clementine" fame). In the book, Stella is placed in the custody of her Great-Aunt Louise for the summer when her flighty mother takes off (yet again) and leaves Stella behind. Louise seems to be a bit crusty and grumpy, but she does think about the fact that an eleven-year old girl living in her Cape Cod house all summer long might get lonely. That's when she decides to ta ...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
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