Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A summer to die” as Want to Read:
A summer to die
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A summer to die

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  4,987 Ratings  ·  477 Reviews
Meg, who has always been very conscious of Molly's prettiness, popularity, and happiness, must now face the grim reality of her sister's death.
120 pages
Published January 1st 1977 by Bantam Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A summer to die, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Reyna Meg, an insecure thirteen year old girl, tells the story of her sister Molly's last summer through her own prospective. The supporting characters…moreMeg, an insecure thirteen year old girl, tells the story of her sister Molly's last summer through her own prospective. The supporting characters include, Ben and Maria, William Banks, and Meg and Molly's parents.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 26, 2007 laaaaames rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I haven't read this book since I was eleven or twelve, but I bought a used copy because I have such extremely fond memories of it. My copy has new cover art, so I got all nostalgic seeing the thumbnail of the old cover here.

It's funny how much of this book I remembered vividly and how much I'd forgotten all together. It's a beautiful story, though, through and through, the kind that makes me happy to be alive.

I recall relating to Meg so much as a kid, so I was surprised to find myself relating t
May 28, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is "unofficial" because I read it many times as a child, though haven't seen it in probably ten years. What I can't believe is that it's actually out of print! Fortunately there are enough copies of this wonderful book floating around to make it easily findable.

I just learned that A Summer to Die was actually Lois Lowry's first young adult novel, written in the 1970s, well before the Anastasia books and Number the Stars and The Giver and basically being one of the most important writer
Mayra Nobel
Aug 31, 2007 Mayra Nobel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
This was the first book that made me cry! I can remember being on my bed crying my little 11yr old eyes out and loving every minute of it. This is a book that everyone should read, especially if you have a sister!
Mar 11, 2009 Lizzie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2009, own
A gift from Amy! Thank you Amy! I finished reading this at 2:30am this morning when I couldn't sleep.

I almost didn't want to read this because it is like a little dandelion poof of a book, it is so super small I was like, I'll blink and I'll miss it! What if I hurt it! I'd never read it before because as a kid I was snotty about the kill-me-now melodramas of Lurlene McDaniel and ilk. (Please see Somewhere Between YA Lit and Death.) However, this meant I overlooked a lot.

The handling of these exp
Nov 22, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sisters
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
I have two sisters and we all read this book. I think having sisters really brings this book to a new level. My sisters and I don't always get along, especially when we all lived in the same house. However, when something happens to a sister, we are excited or sad depending on the situation. I have read this book again and again because it reminds me that even though I might not like my sister today, I still love her. This book has made me cry on multiple occasions. Once, I picked it up and star ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book has stuck with me for so long, and I remember reading it in my mom's car, with The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" playing in the background. The title eluded me until I was hunting around on here, and I am glad to have finally figured it out!
Katrina V.
Jun 23, 2007 Katrina V. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful story about sisters. I recommend it to anyone that has a sister or best friend that they feel that close's beautifully written; a short read that leaves an impact.
Pamela Nelson
Mar 03, 2014 Pamela Nelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A Summer to Die" written by Lois Lowry is a realistic fiction story that takes us on a memorable journey about 2 sisters that have distinctive interest and personality. I would recommend this book to everyone as it enlightens us on the nature of life and the ways to overcome obstacles that stand in our way.The theme of the book could be closely related to perseverance in life as it's cohesively described throughout the various subplots displayed. Lowry had cleverly captivated my attention by co ...more
Dec 12, 2008 Sofia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Summer To Die is a book about two sisters loving each other, going through adventures, illnesses, and good times together. Molly, the weak but older sister was always in bed, while Meg was active and a strong girl. The differences between the girls, made them each unique, and joyful. Their mutual generosity helped their home be a peaceful and enjoyable place. Lois Lowry is a great author who really nails the point of the story and makes you imagine every sentences of this book. Her vivid writ ...more
Dec 17, 2009 Carin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those teen books where the sister dies. (Thanks to the title, I'm not giving anything away here.) I know a lot of adults think children shouldn't read these kinds of depressing books but I adored them as a teen. It is very important for children to learn how to deal with different difficult situations and emotions,and one way they can start to learn coping methods is by being introduced to these types of situations in a safe way: through fiction. My copy of the book says that this ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Connie. Please finish so we can discuss.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly an interesting book to read, but Molly's illness was not really all that relevant to the plot in my opinion. It was much more about Meg's own self-analysis, with the help of Will and her neighbours. Even though Molly's diagnosis isn't revealed until quite late in the book, her death is handled swiftly. While this is clearly meant to be a real turning point for the story, it feels as though it was put there so that there was something else in the book other than Meg's own tale.

I found t
Aug 28, 2007 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
This is a very well-written book in which a girl deals with her sister's fatal illness and eventual death. Lowry handles a delicate situation deftly and thoughtfully. Highly recommended.
Jun 29, 2007 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myfavorites
My favorite teen lit of all time. Equally good reading as an adult. Haunting and beautiful, a story of ambiguous grief and unexpected friendship.
Dec 29, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small, spare book with a big message - this is a story of 2 sisters and yes, the older sister dies of leukemia (that's not a spoiler if you read the title). Cancer is not really a character however - this is more about the relationship between Meg and Molly. Molly is the older sister - more accomplished, prettier, at least in Meg's eyes. Meg is the child for whom nothing has been easy. Yet it is Molly who sickens and eventually dies. This was a well-written testament to the the relationship be ...more
I first encountered this book when my library was weeding its children's paperback collection. I grabbed several out of the pile destined for the recycling bin, including this one. I knew Lowry's work, but I didn't know this was her first novel, or how good it would end up being.

I loved it. It was beautifully written from start to finish. The setting was rich with detail and made me want to move to the New England countryside and start my own garden. It was a bit slow to get going, but once the
Alejandra Martinez
I really like this book a lot because it was so descriptive it made a clear picture of the characters and settings that are in the book. I only would recommended this book to people who like sad endings in books. This book is about a girl a family a family of 4. daughter Molly and Meg . Meg is the main character. But meg or molly didn't know that Molly the oldest sister had a illness that can cost her her life. Until one day Meg is tested by the illness. One night Meg woke up to a bad feeling an ...more
Lauren Ruth
It tells the story of 13 year old Meg and her older sister, Molly. Meg is jealous of her sister because of all the things that Molly has. Molly is on the cheerleading team, blond, and has a boyfriend that she is totally in love with. Meg doesn't have any of that. She wants friends and attention from her parents but it does not happen. One night, Meg wakes up and finds out that Molly has a nosebleed so bad her parents takes her to the hospital. With anyone hardly home, Meg goes and hangs out with ...more
Theresa Milstein
This was a well-composed, powerful book.

When I heard Lois Lowry speak recently, I found out this was the book that began her career in children's literature. So I decided to read it.

Meg lives in the beautiful shadow of Molly. Molly is everything Meg feels she is not. The sister, mom, and dad have moved to the country so dad can finish writing a book while on sabbatical. Here, Meg gets sick and Molly comes into her own. She finds that the things that make her not like Molly are also her strength
Kiley Ann
May 31, 2016 Kiley Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this book as a kid soooo many times. It is still as good as I remember. It taught me a lot about how to look at life - how there is both happy and sad times, how siblings are different, and how we see ourselves is not often how others see us. In my opinion it's a book perfect for those earlier teenage years were you're not quite sure of yourself and the world you live in. Love it !
Taylor N
May 02, 2014 Taylor N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love love love this book! I have read it before so I read it again because I liked it so much! I was about a girl Meg who is jealous of her sisters beauty. But she meets new friends and her sister gets this bad disease too! I would recommend this book to anyone because it wasn't really a book not to not like. I read it because the title was interesting and I've also seen people read it! The ending is fantastic!
Adams Jess
Sep 09, 2014 Adams Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God knows what it was about this book that had my 11-year old self obsessed—but obsessed I was! I had it permanently borrowed from our school library so attached I was! So this rating is from a younger me, but it is definitely to be read again to be reminded why, although most likely I'm so far from the innocent child I once was that my adult self will miss the meaning! Oh the tragedy of growing up.
Jun 15, 2016 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A SUMMER TO DIE is a blast from the past, a book more relevant in the 1970s than now, when photographs had to be developed in dark rooms, the typewriter pecking was music to the ears of writers and pre the age when everything is googable. Nobody questioned why a 70 year old man would befriend a thirteen-year-old girl, instead the intergenerational relationship was celebrated for the gifts of wisdom they gave one another.

Bookish Meg couldn't be more different than her pretty older sister. When M
Miranda Summerset
Feb 20, 2016 Miranda Summerset rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy-shelf
I loved everything about this book! I really loved every character, and the writing was so easy to flow through. Even though I knew what was going to happen with Molly, I still got emotional and especially at the end, when Meg was going through the field for the last time before she was going to go back home. I think this is a perfect read for anyone really, old or young!
Jul 24, 2015 Tressa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
One of my all-time favorite girly teen books! I can't count how many times I laid on my bed re-reading this book and bawling my eyes out. This book gets everything right about sibling rivalry and love; how the terminally ill can leave the world in great dignity; and how those left behind cope after a devastating loss. A beautiful must-read book.
Jul 11, 2007 erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book swept through my 5th grade class, all of the girls waiting for their turn to read it. I still remember exactly where it was shelved in the school library. At the start of the second to last chapter, I cried so hard that the words all blurred together on the page. This book was made for pre-teen pre-angst.
Jul 14, 2007 Poohtle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book whilst staying at my Nana's in the summer holiday. I waas 15 and it made me cry. I only ever read it once but I remember it so well.
Jul 27, 2007 Monique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book every year from third grade until was my favorite and I cried every time (not like I didn't know what was going to happen!)
Mar 01, 2014 Elounor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. A little depressive but very good. It's the first book that made me cry!!! But it is really good.
Aug 09, 2007 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as a girl. It has haunted me a little in life as the sister with leukemia was named Molly.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Izzy, Willy-Nilly
  • Remember Me to Harold Square
  • The Pinballs
  • A Royal Pain
  • Father's Arcane Daughter
  • The Graduation of Jake Moon
  • The Language of Goldfish
  • The President's Daughter
  • Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself
  • Phoenix Rising
  • Where the Lilies Bloom
  • Mom, the Wolf Man, and Me
  • The Year Without Michael
  • A House Like a Lotus (O'Keefe Family, #3)
  • One Fat Summer
  • Saturday, the Twelfth of October
  • Don't Hurt Laurie
  • Gentlehands
Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always
More about Lois Lowry...

Share This Book

“It's hard to give up the being together with someone.” 43 likes
“It is so good to have friends who understand how there is a time for crying and a time for laughing, and that sometimes the two are very close together.” 22 likes
More quotes…