Secrets of a Summer Village is a perfect summer read for middle school age youth and older. It tells the coming-of-age story of 17-year-old Rachel whoSecrets of a Summer Village is a perfect summer read for middle school age youth and older. It tells the coming-of-age story of 17-year-old Rachel who ventures abroad to Turkey from her home in Washington state. Rachel lives for one month with her Turkish host family. There she has a 17-year-old "sister" named Aylen and an older "sister," Leyla. The family has moved to their summer home on the sea for their vacation. Most of the action during the story takes place in this summer village.
The characters bond almost immediatelty and Rachel finds herself feeling like she has been in Turkey much longer than a few days. While there Rachel meets a boy, falls in love, and experiences jealousy in her interactions with other girls. She goes through the brief courtship of the older sister, Leyla, and stays in Turkey longer than the original month in order to take part in Leyla's wedding.
Both Rachel and the reader learn much about modern family life in Turkey and many of it's customs. The author is able to insert all these facts into the book in a way that is natural and that doesn't detract from the story line.
The story itself is told in a more simplistic style, using language that reflects the unsophisticated characters of both Rachel and Aylen. The fact that there is no profanity used and that there is only the mention of physical attraction rather than overt sexual references, makes the book more approachable by readers in the middle school age range. However, older readers might just find the book a refreshing change from other young adult novels being written today.
I enjoyed this book and felt that I learned a lot about Turkey and its way of life. I recommend the story to readers age 11 and up.
(In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.) ...more
Once started this book is hard to put down. At 250 pages it makes for a rapid read but one that grabs and keeps your attention. The length also makesOnce started this book is hard to put down. At 250 pages it makes for a rapid read but one that grabs and keeps your attention. The length also makes the novel more approachable by middle school and young adult readers. It contains some violence but it is not gratuitous. The violence is part of the story and helps explain the actions of the characters.
Mrs. Tuesday's Departure tells the story of a family of women, identical twins, Natalie and Anna, their younger sister, Ilona, and her daugher, Mila. It is the final days of World War II in Hungary and the Germans have just taken over their city. The Germans are in the process of rounding up all the Jews for relocation to concentrationn camps. The sisters are Catholics but Ilona married a Jew and, as a result, Mila is in danger.
The story presents a series of decisions, good and bad, that the characters make, changing the course of their lives. It is ultimately a story of family, love, and human frailities. It will make you think and maybe even cry. Mrs. Tuesday's Departure has been compared to the novel Sarah's Key. Like that book, Mrs. Tuesday's Departure illustrates for the reader concepts such as trust, loyalty, and, ultimately, love. It is sad and happy at the same time. I recommend this book to all ages of readers but especially younger ones who are just learning about Hitler, Germany, the Jews, and World War II.
(This book was received as the result of a free contest through Goodreads First Reads and the review was not solicited in any way.)...more
I found it a charming read. The literal, straight forward style, as well as the happily-ever-after approach, goes well with the middle age group of chI found it a charming read. The literal, straight forward style, as well as the happily-ever-after approach, goes well with the middle age group of childrebn. The romance, as well as the action in the story, was very restrained so there should be very little concern for parents of 8-12 year olds. I liked the illustrations and thought they added positively to the story. I can easily see this be a book that could be read aloud, with both the child and the adult participating. The length is also appropriate for a short but satisfying read....more
If you are a mother, grandmother, aunt,childcare worker - anyone who spends time with kids, RUN don't walk to get this book! I entered the giveaway heIf you are a mother, grandmother, aunt,childcare worker - anyone who spends time with kids, RUN don't walk to get this book! I entered the giveaway here on Goodreads for this book with the idea of handing it on to my daughter who has a two-year-old daughter of her own. Glad I read it first because it is hilarious! You will find yourself in these pages more than once. I know I did, as a grandma, and those memories of when my own kids were little are still close at hand! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it....more