Summer of the Gypsy Moths
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Summer of the Gypsy Moths

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,866 ratings  ·  351 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, 288 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
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Newbery 2013
15th out of 111 books — 997 voters
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Middle Grade Novels of 2012
52nd out of 337 books — 561 voters


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Community Reviews

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Sam
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
Betsy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aeicha
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...more
Allison
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
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...more
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
Susann
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)...more
David
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...more
Amanda
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...more
Patrick
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...more
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...more
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...more
Tami
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...more
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...more
Vicki
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
Sarah
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...more
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...more
Heather
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy
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...more
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
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
Virginia
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
M.
Eleven year old Stella has come to live with her Great-Aunt Louise on Cape Cod after her unreliable mother has abandoned her yet again. This might have worked out better if Louise hadn’t also taken in Angel, a foster child, ostensibly to be friends with Stella. The two girls are oil and water, however, both scarred by their pasts and unwilling to let down any of their hard won defenses.
And then, just as summer is beginning, Louise dies. Afraid they’ll be sent to foster homes, the two girls joi...more
Jennifer


This is a heart book. I love it deeply, probably because I relate far too much to Stella, who believes in the healing power of housekeeping and is a studious rule follower and because it is packed full of one of my favorite types of description: everyday domestic detail, especially as it pertains to cleaning and eating. Stella's voice is real and true and brought me to tears more than once. My new favorite for the Newbery, in a year already stuffed with juvenile literary goodness!
Dana
This is another 4.5! I knew what this book was really about before going in (not what the cover suggests, right?) and so I wasn't surprised by what happens. I was impressed with how well this book was done and how different it is from the Clementine series, but still so darn good. I have to say that every child fantasizes about being on their own and the author does a great job making it seem both fun and miserable/lonely.
Ann Williams
Way to go Sara Pennypacker! This is truly a story of friendship and unconditional love. I found myself cheering for the characters despite some of the unfortunate choices that they made and really hoping for a happy ending. There are so many talk worthy discussion points in this book and I know that readers will be talking about this book for a long time! Mrs. Richards is going to have to get us several copies of this one too!
Julia Wilson
Sara Pennypacker is a great writer and this mid-grade novel is filled with lovely moments. Two 12-year-old girls spend the summer alone finding their way and finding out that they can be friends. My only problem is that the books begins with a death and a backyard burial. I had a hard time suspending my disbelief. I just couldn't imagine the girls pulling that off. That said, I think this one is worth reading.
Erin Sterling
Really liked the story of Stella, an almost-twelve-year-old who is living with her great-aunt Louise in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and the not-so-friendly Angel, a twelve-year-old foster girl living with Louise. With neither of them having much family, when Louise dies in her reclining chair one day, Stella and Angel decide to take care of themselves rather than face foster care. Lovely, well-written, thoughtful.
Owen
How can you top a book that begins with two girls burying an old woman in their back yard so they don't get turned over to social services? You can't. This is a phenomenal book. Some of the best writing I've read in a while. It's a little to perfect as far as endings go, but otherwise It's been awhile since I've been so pleased by a story.
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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?” 2 likes
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