Summer of Sun and Shadows

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Summer of Sun and Shadows is a wonderful book about a boy named Tom who loses his mother, father, and little sister in a car accident. This particular day, Tom convinces his parents to let him stay home because he secretly wants to look at a dirty magazine. This guilt follows Tom throughout the story as he dreams about his mother, father, and sister talking to him and guiding him through certain situations. These parts of the book are sad, and yet they shape Tom’s good-hearted character.

Tom goes to live with his Aunt Zephyr, his Mom’s sister, in the city of Ashtabula. I love how much Zephyr cares for Tom as if he is her own child. As a teenage boy, Tom becomes curious about the man and teenaged girl who move in next door. He goes to help the new neighbor, Beau, set up a tightrope and meets the girl, Sabrina. Beau and Sabrina are circus people. Sabrina’s mother had requested that Beau take care of Sabrina during the summer. Her mother wanted her in the city of Ashtabula so that she could have more stability than the circus. From there, Tom and Sabrina experience teenage puppy love, a bully named Decker, and an evil child molester.

This book has a wonderful cast of colorful characters, and the interactions between them are fascinating. There is even a paranormal factor in this book in which a dead man in a green suit and a white hat comes to scare one of the characters and warn others. This, along with a messenger hawk that travels between Beau and the circus crew are both details in the book that I found most intriguing. I also loved the character Mama Priscilla, who is the “Mom” of the circus people because of how she cares for her circus family.

The Creole influence is strong with the circus people, and in one part Sabrina and Tom experiment with a little voodoo doll ending in a surprising result.

Because this book is set in the 1960s, none of the characters have the technology that we do today. The kids swim, or fish and the teens hang out at the diner for burgers and milkshakes.

This coming-of-age story is exceptionally well-written; although there are multiple storylines, the author does a great job connecting them, so the reader is not left with questions. A fantastic book, unlike anything I’ve read.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 360 pages
Publisher Xlibris Publishing Company
Publish Date
ISBN 9781796046014 Buy this Book
Issue October 2019
Category Modern Literature


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