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The Summer I Learned to Fly

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,486 ratings  ·  296 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?
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cara
It's weird how I feel when I think about this book and now I'm coming to understand that Dana Reinhardt is not a predictable author. She is versatile in the best possible way. I like an author who can genuinely make me feel different for whatever reason.

In this particular story we witness one summer of a thirteen-year-old girl named Drew (formerly known as Robin Drew, and sometimes Birdie). She and her mother are attempting to start a new life now that they have lost Drew's dad. Her mother has o
...more
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
...more
Mina K.
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
...more
♥ 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
...more
Mary
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
Mark
"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
...more
Siew Ee
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
...more
Ina
Being thirteen is difficult for most people...it 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
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)
Really sweet book :)
Tracey
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
...more
Joy (joyous reads)
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
...more
Phoebe
Drew lives with her mother and pet rat, Hum, and spends most of her time at her mother's gourmet cheese shop. Her father is long dead but Drew is consoled by his book of lists, found in a closet and cherished ever since. Her relationship with her mother begins to feel complicated when she discovers that her mother is spending after-work time with someone in a silver car; but Drew soon has her own secret to keep when she meets Emmett, an apparently homeless older boy who befriends her. Their inno ...more
Lisa
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
...more
Nian
Jun 28, 2011 Nian rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Brandon Wong
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.
Heather
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.
Zuzia
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
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 friends.it is truly a great story I would read it again in a heartbeat!
Cathy
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.
Th
...more
Sania Yasin
3 stars.
The book revoles around Drew or Birdie, wise beyond her years, a 13 year old girl, living miles away from SanFrancisco, with her mum and her pet rat Hum. Her mum owns The Cheese Shop where she occasionally works but is never paid. They also have a guy named Nick who works partime there and whom, obviously Drew admires.
What I liked about the book was that there was a lot of symbolism in it. The cover is absolutely lovely. But I wish the narrator wasnt so young. I mean I get that its bec
...more
Susan P
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.
Danijela
This book was very easy to read and it only took me 2 days to finish it. My initial reaction was that it is a perfect book for any teenager/young adult because it deals with how teenagers cope with the changes that happen as they grow up. It is a book about meeting new people and making new friends. Birdie is such a young character but she is so fascinating because she is so hopeful and innocent. She has such high hopes for the summer yet she has to find ways to deal with the unexpected events t ...more
SIMON Karine
Je me souviens avoir craqué pour ce roman après avoir lu la chronique de Mya, il y a déjà plus d’un an… Au moins dix-huit mois que ce roman traînait dans ma PAL, il était vraiment temps de le lire !!!

Avec L’été où j’ai appris à voler, Dana Reinhardt entraine le lecteur dans les grands changements de l’adolescence, cette période ingrate et délicate souvent synonyme de mal-être, ou l’on doit se forger sa propre personnalité et apprendre à se détacher du cocon parental, chose parfois délicate.

Nous
...more
Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie
This is a simple, sweet tale about a girl struck in the awkward stage of adolescence. Her so-called friends are at an acting camp, her mother expects her to work full-time at the cheese shop without pay, her crush has gone and found a crush of his own…It’s not looking like the best summer ever…until she meets a boy around her age named Emmett Crane. Emmett is unlike anyone she’s ever met- he’s mysterious, he eats the discarded cheese from her mother’s shop, he doesn’t think she’s strange for hav ...more
Alexandria
Jan 18, 2014 Alexandria rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who is looking for a miracle
Recommended to Alexandria by: my best friend's book shelf
Shelves: favorites
Drew Robin Solo (also known as Birdie) spends more time in her mother's cheese shop and with her pet rat, Hum, than with kids her own age. She's got a crush on the guy behind the counter and plans to spend the entirety of her summer making pasta with him. Plans go awry when she finds her dead dad's book of lists and meets Emmett Crane one night after closing time. Suddenly, it seems like everyone has got a secret and she isn't so certain she wants to know them all.

Dana Reinhardt spins a story o
...more
Mysh
(3.5/5 actually.)

It's very simple, not at all as romantic as it might come off in its description or from its cover. There are few characters and few settings, but I love the minimalist quality. It's like a good low-budget movie except as a book. I think it's a great example of what writing about a young adolescent should be like and the way feelings start to shadow your mind as you grow older and you get these hints of emotions, like how Robin likes an older boy (and he's an unattainable god bu
...more
Pay
To me this book falls into the good/o.k section (if you know what I mean). I feel as if Drew/Robin's friendship with Emmet was forced, and overall this book should be longer. Emmet didn't feel quite developed, and Drew/Robin was a bit over dramatic. But I forgive that because Drew/Robin are going through a tough time and are trying to figure out what's going on in her life. I did feel that the ending was tied of nicely, though the epilogue was rushed with explaining all the major details of the ...more
Diana
I've been reading a lot of YA coming of age books lately. I don't feel like reading anything too heavy and I'm sick to death of stupid romances. This book was lovely and fun.

I loved these characters. They felt real, but somehow a little more magical -- like a Roald Dahl novel. Maybe that was how it felt to be thirteen. You know a little about a lot of things, but most things are still a mystery, and anything is possible.

I'm trying to remember myself at that age - thirteen years old, between se
...more
Donalyn
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.
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64085
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
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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.” 36 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” 16 likes
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