Thursday, July 15, 2021

ARC Review: Rosetown Summer by Cynthia Rylant (7/20/2021)

In Rosetown (2018), Flora Smallwood struggled to accept her parents' separation. Now, in Rosetown Summer, her parents have reconciled, but her beloved favorite bookstore, Wings and a Chair, which has been so central to her relationship with her best friend Yury is likely to close, and she can't imagine saying goodbye. As summer wears on, Flora slowly learns to come to terms with change, whether she likes it or not.

In so many of her books, Cynthia Rylant beautifully captures the small moments of everyday life. Rosetown Summer is a quiet, gentle read, but it so deeply expresses the emotions of kids as they navigate the first major disappointments in their lives. There isn't much physical action in this book, but the coziness of the setting and the very real-sounding dialogue made it a page-turner for me nonetheless. I was reminded very much of Rylant's Cobble Street Cousins series, which was a huge favorite with my kids a couple of summers ago, and which also celebrates the joys of small-town living and which also explores the normal lives of regular kids in beautifully written language.

Rosetown wasn't super popular and I'm not seeing a lot of buzz for Rosetown Summer, but for the sensitive and thoughtful young reader, these two books really hit a sweet spot. I would have read and re-read this book as a kid and it would not have mattered to me at all that nothing ever happens. Just escaping into this cozy world for a little while would have been - and still is - enough for me.

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