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The Summer I Learned to Fly

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  1,723 Ratings  ·  322 Reviews
Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley nam ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Alex My copy says there are 216 pages too. Maybe GoodReads is counting the copyrights and title pages?

Community Reviews

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Kat (Lost in Neverland)
Reviewed for the "Reviews from Depth of Time" Marathon.

If someone asked me what this book was about, I wouldn't really know how to answer, only that it was amazing. I guess I could start out by saying it's about a girl who works at her mother's cheese shop, who meets a boy, and the rat that brought them together.

From the very first paragraph of the book, I immediately loved it.

For some people it's the smell of sunblock. Or pine trees. A burnt marshmellow from the embers of a fire. Maybe your
♥ Sarah
“We looked into each other’s eyes the way I’d always imagined people did right before they leaned in closer and touched lips for the first time. But that was all we did. We looked at each other. Into each other. We were still clutching hands.”

A cross between Jerry Spinelli & Sarah Dessen; The Summer I Learned to Fly, was a sweet, endearing, and bittersweet coming-of-age story.

Drew – Robin – Birdie – she’s 13 and a half years old, almost 14. And in the 13 years she’s been alive, she’s only
Jan 27, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
This book is very difficult to describe and yet very worth reading. The characterization was masterful and I appreciated how few "stock characters" there were --- almost everyone who played a role in this book had multiple dimensions, faults, and yet were people I cheered for. The main character's (Drew Robin Solo) growth was perceptible and wasn't always expected. Drew didn't change in ways that I would have predicted and she didn't go along with stereotypical clichés. Her journey was a brillia ...more
Mina K.
Jul 05, 2014 Mina K. rated it it was amazing
Let me just start off by saying that I immediately decided to read this book when I saw that Markus Zusak had given it a good review. Come to think of it, it wasn't just good; it was unique, something you'd take some time out of your day to properly structure and write. It was this:

"When you start reading a Dana Reinhardt book, it's like discovering a new friend. Okay, I'll admit, the book was kind of a drag in the beginning. By the time you've turned the final page, it's like saying goodbye to
Mar 15, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing
"At school, with my classmates and friends, I had to decode the hidden meaning of words, to search for what Ms. Bethel in our English class called intentionality. There was what people said, and then there was what they were thinking. Take that first lunch at Antonio's when Georgia said Shut up, when what she really meant was Say more.

One thing I knew for sure was that boys never came out and told girls they liked them, and girls certainly never told this to boys.

'Good,' he said. 'I'm glad we go
Siew Ee
Sep 19, 2013 Siew Ee rated it it was amazing
A contemporary coming-of-age story which I decided to check out for Lyn. “The Summer I Learned to Fly” is simply and artfully written, with an interesting look at the growing pains and hidden joys of navigating teenage life and coping with changes that come along unexpectedly.

Thirteen-year-old Drew comes to terms with the loss of her father and helps out in her mother’s new cheese shop. Like most teenagers, she feels what it’s like to have her first serious crush, inevitable clashes with parent
Feb 13, 2015 Ina rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-books
Being thirteen is difficult for most is especially difficult for Drew, who has to endure more than most, during her 13th summer. She discovers family secrets, meets a mysterious boy - with a story of his own - and must come to terms with her widowed mother's secret relationship and the after math of a serious accident involving a close friend. The characters are likeable and real, and the way Drew deals with a discusses all that occurs that summer make for an interesting and enjoyabl ...more
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
Aug 21, 2011 Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
It's nice story and nice reading, but it's not 5 stars book.

Story is about little girl growing up in little town. It's story about meeting and understanding people, finding friends. Descriptions in this book are really nice, and connections between characters are also very well written. But overall the thing I like the most in this book is the ending.

You'll enjoy reading this book, it's small and nice book.

Saru (Queen of Bookland)
May 26, 2012 Saru (Queen of Bookland) rated it really liked it
Shelves: cover-love
Really sweet book :)
Mar 13, 2012 Tracey rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
I don't know what made me want to read this book. I had read other books by Dana Reinhardt and they were not exactly my favorite books. But this one is the best from her so far.

DREW, who is working at her mother's cheese shop, doesn't really know what to do with herself besides listen to what her mother says, take care of her pet rat, and crush on nick who also works for her mother. But then she meets EMMETT, and that's when Drew and I fall in love. Her reaction to him and their friendship was
Joy (joyous reads)
Mar 18, 2012 Joy (joyous reads) rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr
Nothing like a good cry first thing in the morning. Gah.

Birdie has her summer perfectly planned out:

Work at mom's cheese shop. Check.

Continue to ogle and sigh over Nick. Check.

Everything was at it was supposed to be...until Emmett Crane came into her life.

I'm not a big MG reader; I always think that I won't be able to relate with the characters because I'm old enough to be their mother. This book took me by surprise. It was refreshing to read something that did not involve much of the teenage a
Jun 28, 2011 Nian rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I'm probably not the intended target audience, as this was a true coming of age story of a thirteen year old in the summer of changes. I'm not too fond of Reinhardt, actually, but The Summer I Learned to Fly was a bit different. The characters were quirky and humorous, albeit somewhat one-dimensional (the mother, Nick, even Emmett Crane at times), the setting was refreshing, and the story line a bit strange, falling in the fantasy genre. I did like this, until towards the second half, where thin ...more
Jan 10, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
I'm just wondering how many young adults have a mother and father who are both still living and are still married to one another. The Summer I Learned to Fly is another YA book where the main character's father died and another character's father ran out on the family.

I really enjoyed the book, though. It's the second book I've read recently that included a Book of Lists--this one in a composition notebook whose cover looked like TV static. Drew's father had written down lists of some of his fav
Jun 30, 2013 Zuzia rated it really liked it
I found this book just sitting there at the library and picked it up because of the nice cover and intriguing title. After reading some positive reviews about it, I was eager to read it. While this wasn't one of the best books I ever read, it was good. It was a very pleasant read. I found the main characters likeable and especially enjoyed the ending. Drew, the typical good girl, finally began stepping over the boundaries. I found it slightly strange that she brought her pet rat everywhere, but ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it
This was a sweet little book. Much different than I've been used to reading (no zombies, vampires, demons or suicides). Perfect for a girl that's transitioning into teen fiction. Its about growing up and learning who you really are. Finding out who you really want to be. The main character, Drew, is an outsider. Never really fitting in wherever she is. Then she meets Emmett and everything changes. She sees the world around her a little differently. She learns that she can help shape the world.
Susan  Person
Nov 03, 2011 Susan Person rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
The summer of her 13th year, Drew is working in her mother's cheese shop and teetering on the edge of awkward adolescence. She has a crush on the college student who also works for her mom, she misses her father (who died when she was a baby) and her best friend is her pet rat. Then one night she meets a boy about her own age who is living on the streets and everything changes. This is another one of my favorite YA authors, and this book didn't disappoint.
Madison Swickard
I thought that this book was very interesting it teaches people that even when your cautious you can still have fun! It shows a lot of life lessons and responsibilities. Drew the main character is a loner at the beginning but towards the end she breaks out of her shell and makes some is truly a great story I would read it again in a heartbeat!
Brandon Wong
Oct 16, 2014 Brandon Wong rated it really liked it
The book "The summer i learned to fly" by Dana Reinhardt was a cute romantic book, but it wasn't my style. The book is vaguely about a girl named "Drew" who ran away to San Francisco with a boy named "Emmett" because her mother was dating somebody Drew did not like. Overall, i thought the book was okay but i do not understand the meaning of the title.
Jun 20, 2015 Lina rated it it was amazing
The Summer I Learnt to Fly is ageless. I believe that I'd have loved this book if I had read it when I was a child or an elder.

This story is beautiful and it took me back in time to my childhood. So sweet but too short... I guess I decide my own end for it.
Jul 27, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
Good for 6-8th grades.

A bittersweet look at those tough early teen years when you are finding yourself and experiencing what just might be first love.
Jun 11, 2012 Donalyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent coming-of-age story about Drew, a 13 year old girl, who is waiting for something remarkable to happen and Emmett, a mysterious boy who believes in miracles.
Mar 25, 2013 Asheley rated it liked it
This excerpt is taken from my review on Into the Hall of Books. Read more here:

The Summer I Learned To Fly by Dana Reinhardt is a short and sweet coming-of-age story about a young girl in a small town - a girl that we can probably all relate to at least a little bit.

As I was reading about Drew, there were some things that stuck out right away:

**Nick Drummond - 19-year-old Nick works in the family Cheese Shop, and he's Drew's crush. He's so dreamy and he
Aug 06, 2013 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Drew Robin ‘Birdie’ Solo is reflecting on the summer that changed everything, at least, to her young mind.

In 1986, Drew was 13. She and her mother lived in a small Californian coastal town and her mother had just opened a boutique cheese shop on Euclid Avenue (which will one day prosper, but for now is a little run-down). It was just Drew and her mum for years, because Drew’s dad (for whom she is named) died when she was little, after his body ‘gave up living’.

It was school holidays when the ch
Feb 08, 2017 Lisa rated it really liked it
Found this in Abby's give-a-way box and it intrigued me. So glad I read it. Reminded me of my youth and visits to the Goldfield Cheese Mart. A lot of memories were triggered, including the sweet smell of the wild onions that grew near the bean and corn fields in my summer visits to Iowa. I also remember being an often-alone, but not always lonely adolescent, much like Drew. Nice quick light read that surprised me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes at the end.
Nancy Hollingsworth
Feb 11, 2017 Nancy Hollingsworth rated it really liked it
Blended families are a messy and lovely process. This would be a great read for families of middle schoolers.
Feb 16, 2017 Lianne rated it really liked it
Cute; not riveting, but a good read.
Jan 13, 2017 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this sweet, hopeful story.
Jan 11, 2017 Lynn rated it really liked it
Easy read. Tear jerker end. I would have liked ending to have them at least stay in contact.
Brenda Lower
Dec 06, 2012 Brenda Lower rated it it was amazing
From my blog at:

Drew Robin Solo is expecting to spend the summer at her mom's cheese shop, helping clean, cut cheese and make pasta with the wonderful Nick Drummond, the laid-back surfer that works for her mom. She also has her pet rat Hum to watch over and her dead dad's book of lists to pore over. While not the most exciting of plans, to Drew, it's life and perfection.

One night, Drew realizes that Hum is missing from his usual spot in her backpack. While f
Jen Bigheart (I Read Banned Books)
Eighteen-year-old Drew recalls the summer she was thirteen when her best friend was a rat, her mother started telling her lies, and her life long crush finds his true love - who is not Drew. Hanging out at a gourmet cheese shop may not sound like a good time to most, but for Drew she enjoys spending every waking moment surrounded by stinky Gouda and pungent Swiss. Plus, her crush Nick works there and she is content to stare at him all day long. When a strange boy named Emmett shows up in the all ...more
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. young girl runaway- mom owns a cheese shop [s] 3 51 Jan 18, 2017 07:44PM  
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Why don't you have a bio section?

Because I hate writing about myself.

But wouldn't that be easier than answering a whole bunch of FAQs?

Maybe. Probably. Go on...

So where are you from?

I'm from Los Angeles, but now I live in San Francisco. Except for the summers where I go back to Los Angeles in search of the sun.

What are you doing when you aren't writing?

Laundry, usually. Sometimes dishes. And I re
More about Dana Reinhardt...

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“There are days when I think I don't believe anymore. When I think I've grown too old for miracles. And that's right when another seems to happen.” 40 likes
“When there's something or someone, when there's anything that makes you happy, you don't let a continent or an ocean or an empty pocket keep you apart” 18 likes
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