Tuesday, March 27, 2012

not trumpeting about swans

Finished 1971 Newbery Medal winner, Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars this week.

SOTS is a coming of age story about middle child Sara, who at 14 years years old is starting to struggle with the moodiness and frustrations of being a teenager; added to that are her feelings of being caught between a beautiful older sister and a mentally challenged little brother. Her mother is dead, her father lives out of state and isn't involved in their lives and so she (they) are taken care of by their Aunt Willie.

When her little brother Charlie wanders off and is lost, Sara sets out after him, correctly assuming that he went off to look at the swans that are summering nearby. Sara is aided in her search by a boy she hates, along the way learning more about herself and the boy.

Good thing about the book: Byars devotes some parts to Charlie's point of view, helping the reader better imagine some of the fear he feels. Bad thing about the book: it felt dated to me. Also, Aunt Willie is annoying.

Would I recommend it: Possibly, especially if the child were struggling with feeling misunderstood at home. Did I love it? No, but I didn't hate it. Lukewarm is the word I'd use.

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