Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.
One thing that almost guarantees that I will automatically enjoy a book is a quirky but cute small town setting. I was pretty happy when I opened up The Summer I Learned To Fly and discovered that it has this small town setting that I adore. Thankfully, Reinhardt’s coming of age novel also had great characters and a compelling plot that made for a quick yet satisfying read.
If you’re thinking that The Summer I Learned to Fly is going to be light-hearted becaue it’s short, think again. Reinhardt shows her expertise in her plotting. She doesn’t go into extreme detail about every event in the book, but every page is filled with emotion. Reinhardt gives the reader just enough and I finished this book feeling that the story was resolved without being contrived.
As individuals, I loved all of Reinhardt’s characters, especially Drew. She always did her own thing and was compassionate, but also experienced a lot of emotions that are familiar to me. While I thought Nick and Emmett were both charming characters on their own, my one complaint about the novel is that I never felt Drew spark with either of them.
Of course I can’t let this review go by without mentioning how hungry Reinhardt made me. When I read that there was a cheese shop featured in this book, I didn’t realize that this would mean that there would be pages on pages of description about gourmet cheeses. As a cheese lover, I spent these portions of the book salivating and craving a delicious wedge of brie.
This book charmed me, kept me turning the pages and had my mouth watering. If you’re looking for a fast read about growing up and the importance of friendship, I highly recommend picking this one up.
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you!