I pulled this book off the shelf at school because I was in the mood for a happy, upbeat book , and I felt the cover for Summer of the Gypsy Moths sounded like just what I needed. The author is Sara Pennypacker (love that name!), and she is the author of the Clementine series which is well-loved by elementary school girls. Very funny, upbeat and cleverly written. Well….what I discovered is that Ms. Pennypacker is quite a diverse writer. This is the story of Stella who is spending the summer with her great-aunt Louise. Stella is sent to live with her aunt while her mother is ordered to take parenting classes (so much for an upbeat story). Stella does not know her father and has had to be responsible for herself while taking care of her mother for 12 years as her mother “finds herself”. Stella is now to spend the summer on Cape Cod helping her aunt with the beach rentals and taking care of the blueberry bushes. Louise decides to take in a foster child, Angel, to keep Stella company (add more drama and sadness). Angel and Stella are complete opposites and do not form an immediate bond, but when tragedy strikes….the two react in a most unusual way and find their way in the midst of their unorthodox childhoods.
I loved this book….loved the characters….especially Stella and her obsession with Heloise (and all her helpful hints). I love her passion for order and cleanliness which balances out Angel’s chaos and disorder…..the book makes you laugh, gasp and cry….so much for a book aimed at middle readers. I was thoroughly taken by this original tale.