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Memories of Summer

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  446 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Newbery Honor Winner Ruth White gives readers an unforgettable story of one girl’s experience growing up with a sister that develops schizophrenia.

It’s 1955 when 13-year-old Lyric moves with her father and older sister, Summer, from a small Virginia town to the big industrial city of Flint, Michigan. Summer has always been a little odd, but shortly after the move, things
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Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Laurel Leaf (first published January 1st 1901)
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Hope Was Here by Joan BauerStargirl by Jerry SpinelliEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz RyanMemories of Summer by Ruth WhiteGirl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
ALA 2001 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
4th out of 10 books — 6 voters
Little Women by Louisa May AlcottPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsSense and Sensibility by Jane AustenThe Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
“Sister” Novels
66th out of 244 books — 100 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 818)
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Beccie
I gave this book 5 stars because it was simply.....amazing! Did I like it? Can you like something that rips your heart out? That makes you cry so much you have to take your contacts out? This author really speaks to me. Her writing grips me. Her words stay with me. I am a better person for having read this. I don't think I will ever look at mental illness the same way again. Now I will think of the families in the background, struggling to hold on to that person they love, even though it's not t ...more
Erin
My classification of this one might be stretching things a little. The multicultural element is a family from the rural Virginia with a schizophrenic daughter, and the urban location is Flint, MI in 1955. But I think that multiculturalism should include more than just ethnicities; reading this book, A Corner of the Universe, and (george) indicated to me that the mentally ill do occupy their own culture, as do the people who interact with them on a daily basis. Those who are not members of this c ...more
Raevyn ~WICKED is good...right?~
A great story. Not just about schizophrenia--it's also about poverty, racism, and family.
Lightblue
Una storia per ragazzi che insegna moltissimo su quanto sia difficile accettare la diversità e le malattie. Bello.
Sabrina
Very quick and short read. I was surprised at the abruptness of the ending, I had expected it to go a bit further into their lives, or possible have some big event that changed everything. It just crept along and then ended. After I finished the book I did a little research on the author and it turns out this is a very personal story. She has an older sister who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was a teenager. I thought her treatment of the subject was very honest, but overall I just wa ...more
Kateryna Kryuchkova
*****WARNING*****SPOILER ALERT*****ENDING IS MENTIONED!!!!****
Memories of Summer is a bittersweet read. The novel ripped my heart out, but forced me to stitch it back, inside my chest, in order to continue reading. This book is a truly meaningful read. I broke down at some parts, but pulled through to the end. Summer and Lyric are sisters. Summer is a troubled young lady who has schizophrenia. She develops a more severe self destructive behavior as the story continues because she claims she is
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Mary Louise Sanchez
Two sisters, Summer and Lyric, move from their Appalachian hill country home to Flint, Michigan in the 1950s with their dad,Poppy, who eventually finds a job with General Motors. After the move, the older sister, Summer, starts showing signs of strange behaviors like whispering jibberish sounds, scratching herself until she bleeds, and playing with fire. Poppy and Lyric sacrifice their time to care for Summer the best ways they can considering the lack of knowledge people had of mental illness i ...more
Megan
A girl who is schizophrenic moves from the country to a big city with her sister and dad. They have to try and compromise on their daily lives to help this girl and to create no damage. At first they didn’t know when she talked to herself that it was because she had schizophrenia but later down the road they end up finding out the hard way. Through scratches, crying, and hard times, the family learn to battle fear and sadness. I can say this book is a great read. I have personally read it 4 time ...more
Michaella Hogan
I remember reading this book as a young girl and I thought it was one of the saddest, heartbreaking books I'd ever read. A young girl, with her older sister and her dad, move to the "big city" after their mother passes away. Fairly soon the older sister Summer starts exhibiting erratic behavior: running off, drinking, physical and verbal abuse. A well-written, moving book that looks at a family dealing with mental illness in a time where it wasn't talked about and not much was known about schizo ...more
Daisy Honeywell
Questo libro è di facile lettura ed è abbastanza breve. E' un libro per ragazzini il cui argomento sarebbe potuto essere più approfondito. E' narrato in prima persona e la protagonista è Lyric, una ragazzina che abita con suo padre e sua sorella Summer in Virginia, durante la Depressione. Dopo poco si trasferiscono a Flint, in Michigan, dove il padre riuscirà a trovare un lavoro. Sin dall'inizio l'autrice racconta dello speciale legame che unisce Lyric a sua sorella. Summer ha sedici anni, è bel ...more
Ava Black
Ho preso questo libro in biblioteca perche' ricordavo di averlo gia' letto molti anni fa e che mi era piaciuto. Il libro e' rivolto principalmente ad un target di giovani e giovanissimi, difatti e' lungo solamente 105 pagine ( e cio' di per se' non permette un grandissimo approfondimento dei personaggi ) ed il linguaggio e' molto, molto semplice.
Ad ogni modo, il tema trattato nel libro non e' dei piu' semplici per questo ne consiglio la lettura anche agli adulti: la storia verte intorno a due so
...more
Sara
This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I read it four years ago but have re-read it several times since, and it's always the same. I'm rooting for Lyric and her father to enjoy their enriching, exciting new life in the city at the same time I feel awful for Summer as she deteriorates and is soon barely able to function, let alone enjoy all the wonderful experiences her sister is. Lyric continues to hold onto the hope that Summer will recover and soon they'll both be n ...more
Nicole
A beautiful story set in mid-century Flint, Michigan. The relationship between Lyric and her older sister Summer is simultaneously endearing and heartbreaking. I can't imagine having to watch my older sibling descend into mental illness, let alone being able to make the personal sacrifices Lyric makes every day out of pure love.

Also, I love the names Lyric and Summer. If I ever have children, they will not have common names either!
Kim B.
This book reminded me of no other book as much as "A Corner of the Universe," and for a very good reason: there is most likely not another book for middle grade audiences that shows how utterly heartbreaking mental illness can be to a family, especially to a young girl caught in the middle of all of it. I doubt that many kids would WANT to read a book as sad as this (or that), but children with the same issues or those who are curious should be given these books. Anyway, as a lover of fiction ab ...more
Amanda
I loved this book. Short but sweet. It's so sad when Summer gets sick, and Lyric is so innocent and scared, you never have any idea what is going to happen. It's amazing to see her transition from Virginia to the city of Flint. I can relate to Lyric in so many ways.
Cathy
A beautiful book about a dad with two daughters who moves to Flint from Appalachia to work in an auto factory during the post war years, a story told over and over again. But in this personal and heart rending story, one of the sisters suffers from schizophrenia.
Andrea
Memories of Summer is the bittersweet story of family relationships and how they are affected by a family member whose whole personality is changed through psychiatric challenges. It is told through the voice of Summers' younger sister. Her emotions and perspective are poignant and help the reader to empathize with what "losing" a loved one to mental illness can feel like to the family. I especially enjoyed this book because I have a mother who was diagnosed with mental illness in her early 40's ...more
Gabby
This book is absolutely amazing. The best book ever!! Read it read it read it! NOW!! It's so sad and happy and a fun book!! Read this now! I read it in 3 hours and kept flipping the pages!! It's so so good! Please! Make this into a movie!!
Christian Singer
Sad story based on the author's sister. Readers will desire a different outcome, a happier one. Ruth White did a good job of showing the uncomfortableness of dealing with mental illness. Don't forget to read the interview at the end.
Lunabee
La schizofrenia affrontata negli anni Cinquanta e dal punto di vista di una giovanissima ragazza. Una storia di amore e famiglia ma, allo stesso tempo, di dolore.
Kaci Levingston
Memories of Summer was very interesting and is the best book I will ever read. When I was reading Memories of Summer all of the details that the author put in the book made me feel like I was right there in the scene and I could picture the whole book perfectly. The book was based on a young girl who died and the best part of it is that her sister narrated the whole book. It was basically a biography that took place in a little town that everyone loved to hang out in. No one is not shocked by th ...more
Jenn Marie
This is the first book I ever remember reading. I picked it up at a book fair in the 5th grade thinking (like some others thought) it'd be about a girl remembering details about a summer vacation. Turns out it was anything but that. reading this book as a twelve year old I don't remember really understanding it, though I loved it. I found the book again at a yard sale when I was nineteen and bought it with no question and read through it in forty five minutes. it brought me to tears the second t ...more
Sandra Strange
This book is set in the Depression and gives a good picture of mountain people forced to move to the city to eke out a bare living. However, the main theme/conflict revolves around the 13 year old protagonist’s sister, Summer, who is gradually manifesting severe schizophrenia. The protagonist must deal with the horrifying changes in her beloved and idealized sister and at the same time try to contribute to the family and make a life for herself as a “normal” teenager. Positive. Moves a little sl ...more
Maddalena
Un libro complesso, vagamente "disturbante".
Michelle
I picked up this book this afternoon because it was in my library downstairs and the book I am reading is upstairs. The kids were playing outside and this was short, so I figured I would read a few pages while they ran amok. I don't know where or when I purchased this but I was surprised how much I liked this book. It is extremely short and the writing very simple, yet somehow I totally connected with the characters. It's fairly heavy (thirteen year old dealing with her sister's mental illness) ...more
Amanda
I loved this book! I haven’t read a great book in awhile but this book defiantly made up for that. I felt so bad for Lyric, I can’t imagine how horribly difficult that kind of situation could be, and knowing it was based of the author, Ruth White’s, real sister made it even better. I also enjoyed that there wasn’t that happy go lucky ending that tends to happen in a lot of these books that are depressing through most of it. Overall this was a beautifully written, imaginative, heart wrenching sto ...more
Meaghan
Sep 28, 2007 Meaghan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: family members of schizophrenics
Schizophrenia is a weighty topic, especially for children, but Ruth White handled the subject with great sensitivity. I would highly recommend this book to people who are trying to educate under-12s about mental illness -- with the caveat that the outlook for schizophrenics is better than it was in the 1950s at the time this book was set. Side issues in the book -- homesickness and racial prejudice, for example -- are handled well without sounding artificial or intruding into the story too much.
Kathy McC
This book was shelved with adult fiction in the library, but it is definitely youth fiction. It was an enjoyable read, but I didn't find the description and character development that I have seen in other books by this author. A father and his two daughters move to Flint, Michigan from the South. White did her homework with regards to the landscape of Flint at that time (late 50s). I will recommend this book to certain students, but I have liked other books about Flint and this era better.
rat dog girl
I love this book! The voice in it is original and strong. This girl named Lyric moves to Flint, Michigan with her father and sister because her father is going to work building cars there. Shortly afterwards, Lyric's sister, Summer, is diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book is about learning to live with her schizophrenic sister, and learning to love the "new" Summer. This was a sad book, but I loved how strong this family's relationships were.
Allison
I really like Ruth White. This book though had a more sobering theme and was in general darker than her other books. It's the story of two sisters - one watches and is the voice of the book as she sees her sister get sucked into a world of schizophrenia. It was really well-written, but sad on so many levels, as should be expected. I learned some things about the disease I previously hadn't known. A good book, but too adult for younger kids.
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I was born in the Appalachian hills of Virginia, which is the setting for Belle Prater's Boy and The Search for Belle Prater. I lived there until I graduated from high school and went away to college. Though I left the hills, they never left me. My memories of those years are quite vivid. I have always referred to that time as both traumatic and wonderful. I get most of my ideas for my stories fro ...more
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