Summer of ’77 by Rebecca Amiss
“Summer of ‘77” by Rebecca Amiss is both heartfelt and whimsical. Her wholesome, family drama pulls us into a time right before adolescence when the world of adults has impacted us, but hasn’t faded the joy and wonder that is childhood’s gift. Dealing with deep themes, like the loss of a parent and a sibling, while managing to be upbeat and hopeful, Amiss straddles grief and joy expertly.
Albert is an eleven-year-old boy who just lost his mom and is now losing his home as well. Packed up like so much luggage by a grief-stricken father, he finds himself far from the comforting hustle and bustle of NYC in York, Maine. Emotionally shut down and angry at the world, Albert quickly meets his new neighbor, Robin. Her open, friendly personality begins to wear down his walls and unlock the cold, lonely world he and his father have existed in since his mother’s death.
I’m a science fiction fantasy gal, so it takes quite a bit for a book based completely in reality to pull me in. But Summer of ‘77 held onto my interest the whole way through. Traveling back to the time before cell phones and desktops holds a nostalgic appeal even for children of the ‘80’s like me. Add to that Amiss’ ability to pull heartfelt emotion out of even a simple scene and I was reaching for a tissue every other chapter!
Despite being unflinching about the emotional impact of loss, Amiss still manages to make you feel good by the end. If you enjoy a good cry and want to fall in love with some sweet kids in their last summer of innocence, this is the book for you!