Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "This charming story about the summer three California sisters spend on Cape Cod is perfect for fans of The Penderwicks and The Mother-Daughter Book Club. Full of moments both humorous and reflective, The Forget-Me-Not Summer is a story about three girls facing their fears, adjusting to change, and learning how to band together as the strongest version of themselves: sisters. Though Marigold, Zinnia, and Lily Silver couldn't be more different, they're all excited about their various plans for summer vacation. Twelve-year-old Marigold is hoping to get her first kiss from her big crush, while Zinnia, eleven, will most likely spend her time in Marigold's shadow. And little five-year-old Lily, though angelic, has a knack for stirring up mischief wherever she goes. But any expectation of summer fun comes crashing down when the sisters' parents send them to Cape Cod to visit their aunt Sunny. Small-town life is not what these L.A. girls had in mind. They must adjust, however, to things like sharing a room and living without a TV. With the help of Aunt Sunny's zany disposition and yummy brownies, though, the girls are quickly won over, and before Marigold, Zinnie, and Lily know it, they're cracking lobster shells at clambakes, making new friends, and even organizing a local talent show."The Silver family lives a very posh life in Los Angeles, but their world is turned upside down when their parents' work schedule forces them to spend three weeks at their Aunt Sunny's in Pruet, Massachusetts. The timing isn't good for the eldest Silver sister, Marigold, because those years of acting classes have finally paid off. She just landed an agent and hopes to fulfill her dream of auditioning for the latest teen movie. Zinnia, the middle sister, lives in her sister's shadow and just wants Marigold to notice her, and the littlest Silver sister, Lily, simply doesn't want to leave her nanny behind. But their time spent in Massachusetts, although initially challenging, will prove to be beneficial for all the girls. It's an idyllic beach town filled with clam bakes, gorgeous days at the beach, and no cell phone coverage. By the time their three week visit is over, all three girls will have blossomed beautifully. Leila Howland's The Forget-Me-Not Summer is an adorable beach read for middle grade students. I wish I could have read this when I was a tween; I would have feel in love with it instantly.
All three sisters are relatable in The Forget-Me-Not Summer. Marigold is an aspiring actress and a typical teen. She wants to fit in, wants her first real kiss, and more than anything wants to land a job in a movie. She has been on a popular TV show a few times and this gives her enough confidence to pursue things further, despite her parents' hesitation. Her parents want her to experience a relaxing summer, one that she'll always remember, and they feel sending her to Massachusetts will do just that. At Pruet, she can't be on her cellphone all day or constantly contacting her new agent. She will just uwind in a very wholesome and old fashioned way. Of course, this freaks out Marigold completely. Plus, to spend more time with her little sisters isn't high on her list of things to do.
Zinnia, or Zinnie, is my favorite character in The Forget-Me-Not Summer. I felt bad for her, because she was always overshadowed by Marigold. She tires to pursue acting as well, but it's not her thing and the only reason why she did it was to be closer to her big sister. She tries to tag-along a lot, but things always blow up in her face and she irks Marigold more than ever. Zinnie just needs to find her niche and there's no better place to do that than in Pruet.
Lily, even though she is five, has her own set of issues as well and her time spent at Pruet helps her learn to be more independent, to live without her nanny constantly beside her, and to enjoy the simple things in life, like learning to swim in the ocean.
Even Aunt Sunny benefits from having the three Silver sisters visit her simple beachside home. Sunny has been holding onto the past and the girls help her move on and enjoy the promise of the future.
I absolutely loved this middle grade read. The Forget-Me-Not Summer would be a perfect beach read for tweens or even older readers who want to reminisce what a old-fashioned summer is all about. The girls even set up a talent show and a play, which I used to do as a kid and this brought back many memories. I love to think back to those carefree summers of my youth and I think Howland portrays a blissful summer quite beautifully.