The Summer I Learned to Fly

The Summer I Learned to Fly

By: Dana Reinhardt
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-73954-2
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor 
Review Date: July 11, 2011 

Before this stunning book even hits the shelves, this is one title that is destined to become the best that 2011 has to offer.

In 1986 on Euclid Avenue - before it became the posh, high-society location it is now - a person could run into the fabric store to say hello to the widow, or head into the liquor store to pick up a ‘Good News’ candy, before running back across the street to The Cheese Shop.

Drew Robin Solo is the young girl whose Mom ran The Cheese Shop and, in 1986, Mom was busy dealing with the grand opening and dealing with the hideous health inspector who seemed to be trying his absolute best to shut the shop down before it ever even opened.

Nick Drummond, a nineteen-year-old boy who Drew has a total crush on, is ‘Mr. Fix-it,’ and solves all of her mother’s issues so that The Cheese Shop can open on time. It is a good little store and the community seems to love it but, unfortunately, the huge supermarket sells cheese a whole lot cheaper.

Drew spends her summer days helping out Mom in the shop, and learning how to make the perfect pasta from Nick. She also carries around her pet rat - which was given to her as a gift at the Grand Opening of the store. The rat is called Hum, which stands for His Excellency Lord High Humboldt Fog (which, by the way, is a very fancy cheese). Other than Mom, Nick, Hum, and Swoozie - who is a woman from Wisconsin who joined The Cheese Shop team when she came to town - Drew doesn’t really hang out with anyone her own age. Until…

One evening Hum disappears and Drew is absolutely frantic. She races around the store and out into the alley, where she hears a voice and meets a young boy by the name of Emmett Crane - a boy who has Hum perched on his shoulder.

Over the next few weeks things begin changing in young Drew’s life. Her mother is coming home late from the shop; Nick has gone and found himself a girlfriend, breaking Drew’s heart; and, she and Emmett Crane begin to go on ‘dates’ together. Emmett has secrets; Drew knows this because he can never quite answer any of her questions. But Emmett has a uniqueness about him - kind and comforting like a purely gentle soul. He shares stories with Drew until one day he shares a very strange and beautiful one that makes Drew want to help Emmett on his quest.

This author has done a stunning job. During this very special summer Drew meets her first real love, gets her first taste of freedom, and even watches the Golden Gate Bridge appear in all its glory through the gray mist of morning. Her relationship with her mother matures, and the memories of her father will make all readers feel the hope, love, and regret that Drew experiences in her soul.

Quill Says: The characters are beautiful, the plot is outstanding, and the words read as if a master poetess put them on paper. A Must-Read!

Feathered Quill

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