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The Summer I Learned to Fly
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The Summer I Learned to Fly

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,303 ratings  ·  267 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
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published July 10th 2011)
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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 (Le Pauvre Cœur)
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
♥ 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
"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
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.

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
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
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
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
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 is truly a great story I would read it again in a heartbeat!
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 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.
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
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
Jan 18, 2014 Alexandria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Whether they call her Drew or Robin or Birdie, everyone agrees that she's a great kid. At 13, she always does what's expected of her; she's kind, responsible, helpful, and generous. It's that last quality that leads her to get to know Emmet. After she meets him in the alley behind her mom's gourmet cheese shop, she continues to leave samples of exotic cheeses and day old bread knowing that he'll come by for them later. As their friendship grows, Robin discovers that her safe life feels empty and...more
I went to the library looking for a short audio book to get me through and found this one. This totally exceeded my expectations. It was well-written, had a good story, memorable and likeable characters and was just a pleasure to listen to. It's about a 13 year old gir named Birdie who has a mom who runs a cheese shop. She meets a boy behind the shop and they start to hang out. Birdie soon learns the truth about this boy and they go on an adventure together. If you're looking for a short and swe...more
The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
Random House, 224 pages
ARC courtesy of Random Buzzers

"It���s 1986, and 13-year-old Drew Robin Solo is waiting. Waiting for things to happen; waiting to feel moved by something--or, as it turns out, someone. Drew���s summer begins in her mother���s cheese shop, making pasta alongside handsome Nick and caring for her pet rat and constant companion, Hum. The mysterious nightly disappearance of the old cheeses Drew leaves behind the shop lead to Emmett Cr...more
This is a very small, beautifully written coming of age story by Dana Reinhardt. I loved the small town setting and the quirky individuals who inhabited Drew's world. Drew and her mother have always had each other, since Drew's father died when she was just three years old. When her mother opens a cheese shop during hard economic times, Drew finds herself adrift without friends or family during the summer before 8th grade. Drew has a crush on Nick, the gorgeous surfer who works in her mom's chee...more
This is a lovely little book. I read it in one long gulp, happy to have met this cast of quirky, but thoroughly likeable people. The heroine, Drew, lives with her mother in a town on the coast in central California (an enviable place to be, if you ask me). The action takes place during the summer before Drew enters eighth grade, in the 1980s. Drew's father died when she was three, so her single mom has to struggle to support them both. She has opened a gourmet cheese shop and much of the story c...more
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...more
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
To be honest, I'm not so sure what all of the hubbub about this book is. Then again, maybe I just don't enjoy reading middle-grade books. At any rate, I was expecting something Sarah Dessen-like, and while this story is a solid "coming-of-age" narrative, I was definitely disappointed.

In a nutshell:
-The ending is rushed. Lots and lots of buildup, and a very abrupt/ambiguous endings. I'll be the first to tell you that I tend to LOVE ambiguous endings, but I didn't feel this one was effective.
Dana JH
to seee my full review and others like it, go to

The summer I learned to fly was so sweet and innocent I fell in love with it right away! Reinhardt's voice was light and cute, but there were still the undertones of deep subjects. Humboldt fog reminded me a lot of my late rat Oliver. I thought he went perfectly with the story, of course the irony of her owning a rat and a cheese shop, but also Drew just seems like a rat person you know? lol. Emmett was awesome, I think I'll name o...more
Brenda Lower
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...more
Jun 26, 2011 Erika rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Realistic fans
My first reaction to this book was how unique it really was. Most of the books I read are more fantasy than this, but this one was still a very satisfying story.


Robin (Drew): Drew is the daughter of a cheese shop owner who's best friend is her pet rat Hum. She prefers to be with adults instead of kids her own age and hasn't had many friends her entire life until she meets a boy behind the cheese shop, Emmett.
Emmett: The boy who takes the left over cheese that is left behind...more
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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
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.” 33 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” 14 likes
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