Series: Gaither Sisters #1
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc
Publication Date: January 2012 (first published 2010)
Winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Award
A 2011 Newbery Honor BookEleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.
When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, One Crazy Summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them-an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.
Find One Crazy Summer online
I'm so happy that I was introduced to this book and this wonderful author! This was a story I've been missing for such a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these characters and I feel like I learned a lot about this time and the Black Panther movement while reading. It was so interesting reading about all these things happening from the perspective of an eleven year old girl and it gave me a fresh and original view of what was going on in America during the time.
My absolute favorite part of this story was Delphine and her two sisters. They were just so real. I loved the bantering between them and the way they interacted. I felt the relationship between them was so genuine and it was wonderful. I also really appreciate how they bickered but when it really counted, they had each other's backs. It was such a realistic portrayal of the dynamics between siblings. And they all had such unique personalities! I adored the stoic and responsible nature of Delphine, the outgoing and charismatic personality of Vonetta, and Fern's observant and thoughtful nature! And despite the fact that they were estranged from their mother, you could see pieces of her in each of them, and I loved that!
I really appreciated the conflicts in this story - both between the sisters and their mother and with their previously established information of the Black Panthers and what they experience first hand. Though the start of the book was a little slow in the beginning, I still enjoyed the story overall. I loved the different perspectives we seen throughout the novel in regards to the movement. Everything was obviously very well researched and thought out.
I already have the second book in this series and I'm looking forward to reading it! I'm also VERY excited about seeing Rita Williams-Garcia in person next month at a conference! Such a talented writer and an inspirational person. I'd highly recommend this book!
“It was a strange, wonderful feeling. To discover eyes upon you when you expected no one to notice you at all.”