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Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  959 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
The latest in the inspirational and heartwarming Blue Sky Hill series from Lisa Wingate.

All her life, Epiphany Salerno has been tossed like a dandelion seed on the wind. Now, at sixteen, she must move to the low-rent side of Blue Sky Hill and work where she's not wanted: in an upscale home on The Hill.

J. Norman Alvord's daughter has hired a teenager to stay with him in t
Paperback, 381 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by NAL
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Community Reviews

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Jul 20, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! This is my first book by Lisa Wingate, but it will not be my last. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m a character-driven reader, and this book has two wonderful characters. Epiphany is a teenager who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. Her mother never wanted her, and for her sixteen years, she’s been trying to find her place in life. When she gets a job looking after an elderly man on the rich side of town, she’s sure she won’t fit in there either. Except J. Norman Alvord isn ...more
Apr 05, 2013 Donna rated it it was amazing
I literally stayed up until 4:00 in the morning reading Dandelion Summer all the way through. (Didn't have to work the next day!) Wonderful, wonderful book. The development of the relationship between Epiphany and J. Norm touched me deeply. I never had a relationship with either of my grandfathers, and my father and I have been estranged for years. I've felt God tugging at my heart to try again to get passed old wounds, and He used Dandelion Summer to gently whisper encouragement in my ear. I ha ...more
Absolutely wonderful!! So rich and real and compelling . . . bittersweet-beautiful! My favorite of the Blue Hill series. Easily could be read as a stand-alone novel. And despite the ultra-feminine cover, this novel celebrating mentoring and friendship could, and should, be read by any and all - male or female, young or old. Encompassing many intertwined themes: aging, facing death, coming-of-age, self-realization, adoption, mystery of heritage/origin, faith, friendship, family, risk-taking, jour ...more
Cathy Daniel
May 24, 2016 Cathy Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This is going on my list of favorite all time books! What an amazing story and ending! Here's a peek just to give you an example of the wisdom and beautiful writing!

"We do not live in this world at random, bodies drifting through empty space, forming and colliding by mere chance; nor are we the masters of our own destinies, as much as we may desire to be. Rather, we are like the dandelion seeds my brother cast into the summer sky, ferried along by He who guides the wind and stills the waters, o
Julie Barrett
May 06, 2016 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it
Dandelion summer by Lisa Wingate
Book starts out with an old man, hospitalized and his daughter Deborah is making arrangements for him to come home and having a housekeeper there to tend to his needs and the house.
Jay Norman had just lost his wife and didn't take his heart also follows Epiphany Jones who is just 16 and had been forced to move to this area due to the death of her caretaker. She learns that her father is not who her mom had told her, but she's a black Italian and
Helen Thompson
Jul 06, 2011 Helen Thompson rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this book! It's very sentimental, but then again, so am I. Lisa Wingate returns to her "Summer" series with a wonderful tale about a cranky,retired rocket engineer and a teenager searching for a better life. The two form a close friendship and the adventure begins. Like her other Blue Sky books, Wingate left me feeling like I had been visiting old friends.
Robin Patchen
Dec 01, 2012 Robin Patchen rated it it was amazing
When I first opened Dandelion Summer, I wasn't quite sure what to think. An old white guy and a young, self-described "toffee-colored" girl. What could they possibly have in common? Wow, was I in for a surprise. The characters in this book are so real, so stubborn, and ultimately, so willing to grow, it is a blessing to watch the story unfold. I highly recommend it.
Jun 18, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
"Weeds don't care, is the good thing. They don't need a fancy garen or somebody petting on them, covering them when it's cold, sprinkling them with drips of Miracle-Gro, or loving all over them. You give a reed a little crack ina sidewalk, and it'll put down roots, and suck up water and do its thing no matter what else happens. Weeds don't need much from anybody. They can look after themselves. When you're a weed, you can either die or you can push your way through the concrete and try to surviv ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Whitney rated it it was amazing
Dandelion Summer
Lisa Wingate
Contemporary Fiction
5 out of 5

There are some books that you read and enjoy and then promptly forget about them once they are finished. Then there are those books that linger for days, weeks, even years. All you need to do is see the cover or hear the title and you will be brought right back to what you felt while reading that particular book. Dandelion Summer is destined to be one of the lingering books for me.

I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of people that I
Mar 19, 2012 Kristalyn rated it really liked it
OK- so I'm glad that I decided to do this for book club. It's great. Lisa Wingate does a great job swapping chapters with each character, like in "The Help", and you really learn to love both of the main characters so much, and appreciate their plight. The relationships in the story are so sweet and believable, in my opinion - although the premise of this book this so basic and predictable, "the unlikely bond" between 2 unsuspecting people, but it's believable and heartwarming. Lisa W. does a su ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it
After struggling through the first couple chapters, I dove headlong into this book, loving every second thereafter! I love the relationship between Epiphany and J. Norm, especially since they fit each others' needs so perfectly. A great book to get lost in. I truly appreciate "happy endings" and clean stories. Will probably read more of Wingate's novels after this.

Favorite quotes:

"So many things are impossible only because we limit ourselves to what others tell us we are capable of." --J. Norm
Jan 22, 2013 PJ rated it it was amazing
Loved it!! At first, it was a little confusing getting to know the two characters because they both spoke in first person in their respective chapters. But once I got into it, I was hooked!! I wanted to know more about both characters and how their lives intertwined. And I loved hearing their stories in 1st person!! I wanted to know what they were thinking and feeling and only 1st person can tell you that!!

I am so amazed at Lisa's talent and ability to write heart-warming stories with so much de
E. Ce Miller
Jul 05, 2015 E. Ce Miller rated it liked it
“Dandelion Summer” introduces readers to two distinct characters—J. Norman Alvord, the heartbroken widower who is ready to die, but is being thwarted at every attempt by his doctors and overbearing daughter; and Epiphany “Epie” Jones, who is a sincere but troubled teen, and sometimes has a difficult time making the right choices, even though she knows what they are. Their two separate worlds collide when Alvord’s daughter hires Epie to care for Alvord a few evenings a week, when she is unable (o ...more
May 31, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing
I found this a heart-wrenching book to read, yet I couldn't put it down.

Lisa Wingate once again brings broken, hurting people into my tidy life, and makes me care enough about them to wade through their struggles long after I should be in bed. I loved meeting "J. Norm" and Epiphany, two people from very different worlds, both wounded by their fathers, and looking for clues to their identities in the murky past. A tired, old, white rocket scientist and a fiery, young biracial coed - who but Wing
Jul 27, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing
So, I just finished reading Lisa Wingate's award winning "Dandelion Summer". READER ADVISORY. This book is un-put-downable. Do not start if you have any work in process. This is paradoxically a book you never want to end. I'm not telling you what it's about - just read for 15 minutes and see if you can put it down. Now I'm moping around, wondering if there's any point to getting back to writing my own book. TO MY WRITING FRIENDS - have you ever felt this way? To Lisa Wingate - What a wonderful s ...more
Nov 05, 2012 Shauna rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Author does a great job of introducing the characters than intertwining them in an adventure. J Norm is an elderly man who recently lost his wife and just had a heart attack. His daughter is trying to talk him into a retirement facility. Epiphany is a girl with a Mom who cleans University classrooms, is currently living with Russ and finds Epiphany bothersome. J Norm and Epiphany come together and go on a geneology adventure.

This book is full of "life-isms".
Catherine Richmond
Wow! I can see why this earned a perfect score in the Carol awards!
J. Norman Alvord worked in the space program. His daughter, concerned about his declining health, is trying to get him to move into a retirement community. When he refuses, she hires teenager Epiphany Jones to prepare meals for him after school. Norm and Epiphany begin a journey of discovery about each other and themselves. Author Lisa Wingate did a great job keeping these two characters' voices distinct. Wonderful story!
Oct 04, 2011 Rosalee rated it it was amazing
Dandelion summer is a good book. It contains many of the drama that I injustices, researching family history, recovered memories and To Kill a Mockingbird book. The book tells of different generations that have the family conflicts and how each person works. In the end the book reaffirms that looking out for each other is the best solution. The references to the rocket age and life styles of the 60's and how it becomes involve with today's story is a good story.
Apr 10, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Mary by: read Lisa Wingate before
Loved this book from the first page to the last. I forced myself to put it down when the clock said bedtime, but I wanted to read it through without stopping. I'd read Tending Roses several years ago & really enjoyed it, but if anything this one is even better. I can't remember for sure, so I'm going to read Tending Roses again now. But the light suspense added into Wingate's endearing & wholesome story here seemed an added bonus in this book. Highly recommend.
Sep 17, 2014 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Alternating chapters between two characters' point of view is a challenging narration to pull off successfully, yet Lisa Wingate does it seamlessly. Excellent writing, remarkable characterization and story-telling. Wingate strikes the perfect balance of inspiration--depth and subtlety--all without being the least bit cloying.

It's been a long while since I was so impressed by a book of contemporary fiction. Highly recommended.
Sep 14, 2015 Susanchitter rated it really liked it
This author never disappoints.
Debbie Evancic
Aug 27, 2014 Debbie Evancic rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and never lost interest in it.

It is the story of a poor, bi-racial 16 year old girl, Epiphany (Epie) who lives in a rough, lower class neighborhood. Her mother is a white woman, who is absent from her daughter's life most of the time, working odd jobs and running with different men. Epie is tormented at school and struggles to find her identity.

Her mother cleans houses for a rich, grouchy, depressed, old man and volunteers Epie to prepare meals for him several times a week, fo
Dec 02, 2011 Manda rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this story, characters, and dialogue! An unlikely friendship between an elderly man who is struggling to gain back his independence as his health declines and a 16-year-old bi-racial girl who feels unwanted by her mother. Every chapter alternates between the point of view of both characters. The story involves a mystery, also.
Jan 12, 2016 Pauline rated it it was amazing
Lisa Wingate is one of my 3 favorite contemporary authors and if I needed a reminder of why--this book would be enough. The unlikely duo of J Norman Alvord and Epiphany Jones became the foundation of an exquisite novel which left me wanting more when the book was over. Dealing with such themes as identity, acceptance, purpose, youth vs old age, Wingate begins to weave a story that makes you ponder your own history, engrosses you in a mystery and causes you to look to the future. One caveat: you ...more
Cherie Kasper
Aug 22, 2014 Cherie Kasper rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
Dandelion Summer is an easy going, easy reading book. I did have a little trouble getting started on it, but it does pick up and keep you interested the rest of the book. There are some really good twists and turn throughout.
The unlikely pair of Epiphany Jones and J. Norman Alvord is a surprise throughout. J. Norman has some heart trouble and his daughter doesn't want him left alone, preferably a retirement home would be good. But, J. Norman has other ideas. He needs help though, this is where
Carol McClain
Oct 14, 2012 Carol McClain rated it it was amazing
Hands down, this was one of the best books I've read this year. Two unlikely characters form an alliance, and their lives helped each gain a purpose and achieve goals. I'm not good at writing review, read the back cover, then buy the book. I couldn't put this book down.
Jul 28, 2016 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, mystery
I added this under christian but it is really more an 'inspirational' title. It isn't really a mystery either.

So this was a really surprising book for me. I had no real expectations, I was just looking for some fluff to read on a summer day. It is a far cry from fluff, but still easy to read and hard to put down. It was very moving.

I have a hard time entering into the racial aspect. I was a white kid from SoCal. Most of the discrimination I saw was against Hispanics. Before my time it was mostl
Oct 19, 2012 Doris rated it it was amazing
Multi-generational relationships. Loved the way an elderly man, Norman, sees the potential in Epiphany, a 16-year-old misfit and both lives are changed for the good. Well-written, involving, presented from each character's viewpoint.
Jul 03, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing
Don't miss this book! This is a multi-generational story of coming back from the brink of despair and of finding your place in the world.
This was my first Lisa Wingate book and plan to read more.
Mar 17, 2014 Maggie rated it really liked it
I'm a bit torn about rating this book. On the one hand, the characters were fascinating, the plot intriguing for the first half of the book, and the writing good. On the other, the plot in the second half was way too convenient and it became apparent this is what is currently being termed "Christian" literature and the author, through her character, began preaching morals, etc. and the plot took a tremendously uplifting turn. None of this is necessarily bad, but it was so clearly contrived as to ...more
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Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Good Hope Road, The Language of Sycamores, and Drenched in Light. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in Central Texas.
More about Lisa Wingate...

Other Books in the Series

Blue Sky Hill (4 books)
  • A Month of Summer (Blue Sky Hill #1)
  • The Summer Kitchen  (Blue Sky Hill #2)
  • Beyond Summer (Blue Sky Hill #3)

Share This Book

Dear Deborah,

Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say:

When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle.

When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs.

When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her.

When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen.

When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her.

When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away.

Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words.

If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong.

These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole.

Without it, there are tatters.

It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending.

These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could.

A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste.

I love you,
“One of the secrets to life, Epiphany, is to find your gifts and focus on those. Leave your liabilities in the dust of the road not taken. The world is an imperfect place. Everyone struggles. Successful people see trials as growth experiences, rather than stumbling blocks. You have everything you need for success. You're a beautiful young woman, and you're strong, and you have a clever mind. If you let anyone convince you otherwise, you steal from yourself.” 4 likes
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