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Summer Sanctuary

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Matthew knows that this summer is going to be the worst ever. His best friend Kyle is gone, his younger brother Mark has surpassed him in size and athletic ability, and his mother is pregnant for the fifth time. The eldest home-schooled son of a preacher, Matthew plans to bury himself in books about the speed of light and Einstein's Theory of Relativity to see if he can pr ...more
Paperback, 193 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Luminis Books, Inc.
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Laurie Gray Hi, Lyndsey, I just came across your question here and appreciate your interest in Summer Sanctuary. I have tossed around a few ideas for a sequel, bu…moreHi, Lyndsey, I just came across your question here and appreciate your interest in Summer Sanctuary. I have tossed around a few ideas for a sequel, but am currently working on other projects. Anything's possible and "ever" is a very long time, so this is a definite maybe, although there's nothing currently in the works. (less)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  121 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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I got this for free from iTunes a few years ago.

This is a simple story of a home schooled boy named Matthew and the short friendship he develops during the summer vacation. While it is never clear if his parents are aware of his secret friend, Dinah, they are not the absent parents of the ya genre. Honestly, this felt more like middle grade book.

Despite being simply told, it deals mainly with helping someone who is less fortunate with dignity. A great message for any age.

The main fault is that
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Laurie Gray's Summer Sanctuary is a wonderfully moving story in which both the shy and studious Matthew and the worldly and tomboyish Dinah grow up so much in just a few short weeks. Matthew meets Dinah, whom he originally thought was a boy, at the library, when she takes his half-eaten lunch out of the trash can and eats it. He's watching from a window inside the library.

While Matthew is intrigued by this girl who has eaten from the trash, Dinah is extremely hesitant to tell her story the firs
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Facing a summer without his best friend, Matthew decided on a summer project using the speed of light and the theory of relativity to try and prove his own theory about the dilation of time. Using the library resources on a daily basis to prove his theory, he met a girl that turns out didn’t really have anyplace to live or anyone to watch over her for a while. Sharing lunch with Dinah everyday, he would bring sandwiches and she would contribute anything she could find, even if it came from the s ...more
Janine Darragh
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-poverty
A sweet little book for middle schoolers- the first I've read that portrays poverty/homelessness in this way- a delicate balance of agency between the girl who is (temporarily) homeless and the home-schooled-preacher's boy.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A quick, easy read. I enjoyed the story, but somehow wanted more! Did the parents in fact know about Dinah? Did they ever talk to Matthew about her? What happened to Dinah and her mom after they moved? Just needed MORE somehow! But maybe for the young adult set, to which the book is geared, would be okay with it.
Tracy Parker
Sweet Story

What a great innocent relationship. I loved the research for his project - a days is like...I wonder what happened- seems like this could be a series. But it had a good ending.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nice and short

This story had potential to be more interesting. As it was I don’t think it could have held my interest for many more pages
Sahar Sabati
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It’s finally summer! I’m delighted to finally have the time to get my hands on some of the books I have been meaning to read for so long.

Because of my work with junior youth (aged 12 to 15), I’m always on the lookout for books that balance realism with high standards, as well as being approachable while not being patronizing. It has been rather difficult; there seems to be a growing market for books that do not have the high standards a junior youth adhering to religious convictions strives for
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Erikka Adams aka "The Bookbinder" for

Who doesn't remember what it's like to be stuck at home for the summer with nothing to do and no one to see?

At first, this is the prospect for twelve-year-old Matthew's summer. He wants to be hanging out with his friend, Kyle, going to the movies, or doing anything but what he is really doing - hanging out with his family or working on a summer home schooling project which involves being at the library. Every. Day. What a lame sum
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-wins
I received this book as a FirstReads winner. Thank you, GoodReads, and thank you, Luminis Books!

This is one of those books that is good in ways that have not yet become apparent to me even though I'm done reading. Its long-term impact on me will be evident when I think of it years from now, and realize that my thinking about some subject has been affected by the book. That's one of my toughest measures of a well-written story.

This is also one of those books that are difficult to describe, becaus
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in Good Reads First Reads raffle and wonder if they chose me based off of my interests, career and books that I've read! This is a YA novel, somewhat Christian-themed story that takes place in and around a library! I really enjoyed reading this book. It was something I could imagine myself giving my teenage child in the future.

Matthew is one of four- soon to be five- children of a pastor of the local Peace Congregation. He is home-schooled and is required to do a summer project
Sally Kruger
According to Matthew, this summer is going to suck. With his friend Kyle away visiting his grandparents' farm, there won't be anyone to hangout with except his annoying brothers and his pregnant mother. And what's up with that? Aren't four sons enough for one family?

Being homeschooled by his mother and minister father, Matthew decides to throw himself into a science research project so he can spend the long summer at the local library. One of his first days at the library he meets a strange girl
Mindy Detweiler
May 02, 2010 rated it liked it
My Take: I really enjoyed this book. I was curious about it when I first read the summary because I homeschool my daughter and homeschooled my two older children all the way through school. Beside a few spots where the author made Matthew a little naive ( seemed that he was that way because of his being homeschooled, Most homeschooled children that I know are more away of the entire world than the average child their age) I thought that the author portrayed a homeschooled child very well.

I was t
Mary Sanchez
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Matthew is a homeschooled PK preacher's kid who plans to spend much of his summer vacation at the library. He wants to study the speed of light and connect it to the biblical story of creation. On his visits to the library he befriends a homeless teenaged girl and offers her a physical sanctuary at his father's church but both characters receive an emotional sanctuary through their friendship. I loved the references to various books and library research and found it refreshing to read about chur ...more
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this story was believable and it made me stop and think about life. The story proves to me that our children can outsmart us if they want to. I enjoyed the dialog between the characters. I was a little sad that Matthew felt like he had to keep the secret; but I also understand that the secret needed to be kept so Child Welfare did not get involved. Parts of this story made me laugh out-loud. I will share this book with some of the readers at the library.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle-book
Matthew spots a girl sitting in a tree by the library and thinks she's a boy. When he finally meets her, he is fascinated by her and instantly wants to be her friend. Dinah is a girl who is struggling to survive while her mom is in prison for breaking probation.

This story just felt really forced to me. I don't mind religious undertones, but these didn't work for me at all. And the ending was just a rushed, neat-package ending. Yeah, not my favorite book.
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was a couple of pages into this story before I understood that the POV character was a boy. After that, I really became engaged and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Matthew and Dinah. They both touched my heart. I expected a different ending and was perhaps a bit disappointed, but that means the ending wasn't predictable. I recommend this novel to pre-teen and early teen boys and girls as well as adults who care about that age group.
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I recieved Summer Sanctuary in the Goodreads book contest. Although it was a young reader book,which I'm only young at heart I enjoyed this book very much and will be giving it to a grandaughter that I know will enjoy it.

Summer Sanctuary keeps you very envolved in the main character,Matthew and Dinah. I truly enjoyed this book.
Amy Palmer
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This rating could even pass as a three. I felt like lowering it because, I WANTED TO READ MORE! This book is a quick read. I wanted more. I just love the friendship Michael and Dinah had going on. This book wasn't overly religious which I liked. Hopefully there is a series to these books!
May 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a FirstReads giveaway book. The lesson I learned was a sanctuary is often found in unexpected places by people with whom we have little in common. A sanctuary isn't always a PLACE of safety, but involves friendship and trust. This young adult novel is one I would recommend for others.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I had to remove a few stars for the abrupt ending to the book, and the feeling like there never ended up being a climax or main objective to overcome. It read more like a diary than a story.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
As I began this book, it reminded me of "Bridge to Terabinthia.". Waited for the plot twist. It never came.
Destiny Causby
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good quick read
Michele Whitecotton
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very fast read, took less than a day thank goodness, I wasn't into this story at all, I thought it was boring and pointless. I'm glad it was a free kindle book.
Michelle B Campbell
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A quick read - sweet story. Will let my 7th graders know about it!
Al Riske
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for middle-grade readers. It has a lot of heart and a great deal of soul, and author Laurie Gray throws in her gentle humor at no extra charge.
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peaceful summer story

Nicely written without being predictable. This is a good one for young readers. It's a coming of age kind of story.

Jackie Bolen
rated it really liked it
Jul 12, 2016
Lori Snow
rated it liked it
May 11, 2015
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An experienced trial attorney and child advocate, Laurie Gray is the founder of Socratic Parenting (, co-creator of Token of Change™, and a consultant for Sophie’s Café ( Laurie earned her B.A. from Goshen College and her J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She also works as an adjunct professor of criminal sciences for Indiana Tech and ...more

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