Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Summer I Learned to Fly Audio

The Summer I Learned to Fly Audio

Dana Reinhardt
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Shannon McManus
Listening Library , 2011   ISBN: 978-0307915757

Drew has been looking forward to the summer vacation for ages, and now it has finally arrived. What could be better than a summer spent working at her mother’s cheese shop, making fresh pasta with handsome Nick by her side, and spending time with her mother. She never expects that the summer is not going to unfold the way she wants it to. Instead of being predictable and easy, it is going to be full of new experiences and surprises.

Right from the beginning, things do not go as planned. Drew finds out that she will not be able to work for at the cheese shop as an employee because she is underage and because her mother simply cannot afford to pay her anything. So much for making enough money to pay for that leather jacket she wants. Then Nick, gorgeous pasta-making Nick, goes and gets a girlfriend. Drew feels completely betrayed, and she makes a point of avoiding Nick as much as possible. This is painful in the extreme because Nick is not only her crush, he is also her friend and now she has no one to talk to.

Then Hum, Drew’s pet rat, escapes from his cage in the shop (where he is not supposed to be at any time) and Drew gets frantic. She is searching the shop when she hears a noise in the back alley, and when she goes to investigate, she finds Hum sitting on boy’s shoulder. The boy, Emmett, apparently knows a great deal about rats, and Drew cannot help being quite taken by him.

In the days that follow, Drew gets to know Emmett a little more. They go on a picnic together, and Emmett introduces Drew to his friends. Drew cannot believe that she is having an honest to goodness teenage girl summer ‘thing’ with an honest to goodness boy.

Then Nick has an accident, and suddenly everything changes. Drew figures out that her mother is actually dating someone on the sly, and just when she needs him the most, Emmett disappears without warning. In the blink of an eye, Drew has almost lost Nick, she has been abandoned by her first maybe-boyfriend, and she feels betrayed by her mother, who is keeping secrets from her.

Growing up is often a painful business, and all too often the process is complicated by new relationships and new situations. This is just what Drew experiences during the summer of her thirteenth year. For the first time in her life, she begins to understand that life is complicated, and that people are not always what they seem. Listeners will find it hard not to celebrate with Drew when she figures something out, and to grieve with her when she loses something she loves.

This is a truly memorable audio title that both teenagers and adults will enjoy listening to.