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A Summer to Die

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4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,233 ratings  ·  607 reviews
Thirteen-year-old Meg envies her sister's beauty and popularity. Her feelings don't make it any easier for her to cope with Molly's strange illness and eventual death.
Mass Market Paperback, 120 pages
Published December 1st 1983 by Laurel Leaf (first published April 27th 1977)
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Reyna Marie Meg, an insecure thirteen year old girl, tells the story of her sister Molly's last summer through her own prospective. The supporting characters…moreMeg, an insecure thirteen year old girl, tells the story of her sister Molly's last summer through her own prospective. The supporting characters include, Ben and Maria, William Banks, and Meg and Molly's parents.(less)

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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  6,233 ratings  ·  607 reviews


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laaaaames
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I haven't read this book since I was eleven or twelve, but I bought a used copy because I have such extremely fond memories of it. My copy has new cover art, so I got all nostalgic seeing the thumbnail of the old cover here.

It's funny how much of this book I remembered vividly and how much I'd forgotten all together. It's a beautiful story, though, through and through, the kind that makes me happy to be alive.

I recall relating to Meg so much as a kid, so I was surprised to find myself relating
...more
Anna
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is "unofficial" because I read it many times as a child, though haven't seen it in probably ten years. What I can't believe is that it's actually out of print! Fortunately there are enough copies of this wonderful book floating around to make it easily findable.

I just learned that A Summer to Die was actually Lois Lowry's first young adult novel, written in the 1970s, well before the Anastasia books and Number the Stars and The Giver and basically being one of the most important writer
...more
Mayra cordero
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
This was the first book that made me cry! I can remember being on my bed crying my little 11yr old eyes out and loving every minute of it. This is a book that everyone should read, especially if you have a sister!
Lizzie
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, own, young-adult
A gift from Amy! Thank you Amy! I finished reading this at 2:30am this morning when I couldn't sleep.

I almost didn't want to read this because it is like a little dandelion poof of a book, it is so super small I was like, I'll blink and I'll miss it! What if I hurt it! I'd never read it before because as a kid I was snotty about the kill-me-now melodramas of Lurlene McDaniel and ilk. (Please see Somewhere Between YA Lit and Death.) However, this meant I overlooked a lot.

The handling of these
...more
Lisa Vegan
I remember really enjoying this book. What can I say: I love stories about people with cancer, especially young people. And, as an only child, I also love reading about families/siblings, and this is a great sister story.
Ruth Soz
Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book has stuck with me for so long, and I remember reading it in my mom's car, with The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" playing in the background. The title eluded me until I was hunting around on here, and I am glad to have finally figured it out!
Denisse
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 A feelings book indeed my dear Lowry! Personal loss creates wonderful books. For some reason, the more the author knows the problem of the characters the better it is read. The emotions feel closer and that's the only reason why I liked A summer to die, it felt personal in the right way. For anyone with taste for a feelings book.


“…and the jagged edges of sadness are softened by memories.”

La novela es ficcion, pero la historia principal se basa en la experiencia personal de la autora como
...more
Heidi
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sisters
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
I have two sisters and we all read this book. I think having sisters really brings this book to a new level. My sisters and I don't always get along, especially when we all lived in the same house. However, when something happens to a sister, we are excited or sad depending on the situation. I have read this book again and again because it reminds me that even though I might not like my sister today, I still love her. This book has made me cry on multiple occasions. Once, I picked it up and ...more
Katrina V.
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story about sisters. I recommend it to anyone that has a sister or best friend that they feel that close to...it's beautifully written; a short read that leaves an impact.
Evan Quade
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

This was Lois Lowry's first children's book that began her writing career. And for a first book like this, that's a good debut meaning to break anyone who reads it.

This is the story of Meg and her older sister Molly. Although Meg had a good hobby of shooting photographs, she envied her sister; by being pretty, having a good style of hair, and having a kind of future coming ahead for her. While Meg felt she didn't have quite the purpose. That is until Molly got sick. Molly may have come
...more
Hafsa Sabira
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
From my perspective, this is a coming-of-age novel where thirteen-year-old Meg learns to accept the surroundings and rediscover herself among the company of different types of people which quite contradicts with the title.

I assumed that the novel is about Molly's death or the relationship of Meg and her sister Molly. But as I continued reading, it seemed more about Meg herself, her outlook, her hobbies, her thoughts on things. Even Molly's death is not portrayed well and rather than expressing
...more
Candychaser21
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.. B.. Bittersweet.. The naked birthing scene was a tad odd ...more
Sarah
Nov 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Connie. Please finish so we can discuss.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pamela Nelson
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
"A Summer to Die" written by Lois Lowry is a realistic fiction story that takes us on a memorable journey about 2 sisters that have distinctive interest and personality. I would recommend this book to everyone as it enlightens us on the nature of life and the ways to overcome obstacles that stand in our way.The theme of the book could be closely related to perseverance in life as it's cohesively described throughout the various subplots displayed. Lowry had cleverly captivated my attention by ...more
Carin
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those teen books where the sister dies. (Thanks to the title, I'm not giving anything away here.) I know a lot of adults think children shouldn't read these kinds of depressing books but I adored them as a teen. It is very important for children to learn how to deal with different difficult situations and emotions,and one way they can start to learn coping methods is by being introduced to these types of situations in a safe way: through fiction. My copy of the book says that this ...more
Cindy
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A small, spare book with a big message - this is a story of 2 sisters and yes, the older sister dies of leukemia (that's not a spoiler if you read the title). Cancer is not really a character however - this is more about the relationship between Meg and Molly. Molly is the older sister - more accomplished, prettier, at least in Meg's eyes. Meg is the child for whom nothing has been easy. Yet it is Molly who sickens and eventually dies. This was a well-written testament to the the relationship ...more
Sofia
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A Summer To Die is a book about two sisters loving each other, going through adventures, illnesses, and good times together. Molly, the weak but older sister was always in bed, while Meg was active and a strong girl. The differences between the girls, made them each unique, and joyful. Their mutual generosity helped their home be a peaceful and enjoyable place. Lois Lowry is a great author who really nails the point of the story and makes you imagine every sentences of this book. Her vivid ...more
Adams Jess
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
God knows what it was about this book that had my 11-year old self obsessed—but obsessed I was! I had it permanently borrowed from our school library so attached I was! So this rating is from a younger me, but it is definitely to be read again to be reminded why, although most likely I'm so far from the innocent child I once was that my adult self will miss the meaning! Oh the tragedy of growing up.
Megan
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This is a very well-written book in which a girl deals with her sister's fatal illness and eventual death. Lowry handles a delicate situation deftly and thoughtfully. Highly recommended.
Maggie
Jun 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myfavorites
My favorite teen lit of all time. Equally good reading as an adult. Haunting and beautiful, a story of ambiguous grief and unexpected friendship.
Josephine Lee
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-year-of-2016
Since I haven't read every one of Ms. Lowri's books, I'm not qualified to say whether this is her best, but it is definitely one of her greatest.

A Summer to Die is about death, and the love and life that continues on even after heartbreak.

Put simply, it is my kind of story. Sweet, but not cheesy. Distinct message, without preaching. Ms. Lowri is completely in her element here--she writes very freely and amazingly realistically. After all, it's partially based on her own sisterhood. And I think
...more
mitchell k dwyer
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Before Lois Lowry wrote two Newbery-winning novels, she wrote a wonderful series about a girl named Anastasia Krupnik. I loved Anastasia before Number the Stars was published and honored, but had never ventured backward into Lowry's bibliography. Then one Saturday last spring, I was exploring Wahiawa and found A Summer to Die in the Goodwill store for ninety-nine cents. It went into the trunk of my car for those times when I needed something to read but didn't have any of my current books with ...more
Sophie
I first encountered this book when my library was weeding its children's paperback collection. I grabbed several out of the pile destined for the recycling bin, including this one. I knew Lowry's work, but I didn't know this was her first novel, or how good it would end up being.

I loved it. It was beautifully written from start to finish. The setting was rich with detail and made me want to move to the New England countryside and start my own garden. It was a bit slow to get going, but once the
...more
Sarah
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Certainly an interesting book to read, but Molly's illness was not really all that relevant to the plot in my opinion. It was much more about Meg's own self-analysis, with the help of Will and her neighbours. Even though Molly's diagnosis isn't revealed until quite late in the book, her death is handled swiftly. While this is clearly meant to be a real turning point for the story, it feels as though it was put there so that there was something else in the book other than Meg's own tale.

I found
...more
Lauren Ruth
Jul 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 13-24-book-list
It tells the story of 13 year old Meg and her older sister, Molly. Meg is jealous of her sister because of all the things that Molly has. Molly is on the cheerleading team, blond, and has a boyfriend that she is totally in love with. Meg doesn't have any of that. She wants friends and attention from her parents but it does not happen. One night, Meg wakes up and finds out that Molly has a nosebleed so bad her parents takes her to the hospital. With anyone hardly home, Meg goes and hangs out with ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
A SUMMER TO DIE is a blast from the past, a book more relevant in the 1970s than now, when photographs had to be developed in dark rooms, the typewriter pecking was music to the ears of writers and pre the age when everything is googable. Nobody questioned why a 70 year old man would befriend a thirteen-year-old girl, instead the intergenerational relationship was celebrated for the gifts of wisdom they gave one another.

Bookish Meg couldn't be more different than her pretty older sister. When
...more
Alejandra Martinez
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really like this book a lot because it was so descriptive it made a clear picture of the characters and settings that are in the book. I only would recommended this book to people who like sad endings in books. This book is about a girl a family a family of 4. daughter Molly and Meg . Meg is the main character. But meg or molly didn't know that Molly the oldest sister had a illness that can cost her her life. Until one day Meg is tested by the illness. One night Meg woke up to a bad feeling ...more
Theresa Milstein
This was a well-composed, powerful book.

When I heard Lois Lowry speak recently, I found out this was the book that began her career in children's literature. So I decided to read it.

Meg lives in the beautiful shadow of Molly. Molly is everything Meg feels she is not. The sister, mom, and dad have moved to the country so dad can finish writing a book while on sabbatical. Here, Meg gets sick and Molly comes into her own. She finds that the things that make her not like Molly are also her
...more
Tiana Nguyen
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked reading this book. It was one of the best books I have ever read. The author made me feel like I was the character. I could see how the main character felt about herself and her sister who she envied. The main character changed eventually in the story. It was certainly sad for her when her sister died of a deadly disease. I can see how difficult life was for her and her parents after the terrible loss. Overall, this story is just fantastic.
booksandsmiles
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this book as a kid soooo many times. It is still as good as I remember. It taught me a lot about how to look at life - how there is both happy and sad times, how siblings are different, and how we see ourselves is not often how others see us. In my opinion it's a book perfect for those earlier teenage years were you're not quite sure of yourself and the world you live in. Love it !
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Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always
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“It's hard to give up the being together with someone.” 58 likes
“It is so good to have friends who understand how there is a time for crying and a time for laughing, and that sometimes the two are very close together.” 29 likes
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