Review/ Summer Days, Starry Nights

Review/ Summer Days, Starry NightsSummer Days, Starry Nights by Vikki VanSickle
Published by Scholastic Canada on June 1, 2013
Pages: 240

A famous rock star, a family secret and a boy with a great smile make for one unforgettable summer.
It's 1962, and thirteen-year-old Reenie Starr comes alive the minute guests begin to arrive at her family's summer resort. She dreams of the day she can run Sandy Shores, and she spends her time helping out at the resort, swimming, climbing trees, and singing under the stars.
One day, Reenie's mother announces that she thinks the resort could use some entertainment. She invites Gwen, her best friend's almost-grown daughter, to come and teach a dance class. Although Gwen seems sad and remote, Reenie's thrilled to have her there.
As Reenie starts to learn more about the world beyond Sandy Shores, she comes up with a plan that could really put it on the map. She also finds herself caught between the simpler world of her childhood and all of the wonderful new discoveries (boys) and heartaches (boys) that growing up can bring. Reenie thought she wanted Sandy Shores to never change, but after this summer nothing will ever be the same again.
With the same humour and insight that she brought to the acclaimed Words That Start With B, Vikki VanSickle expertly captures those lazy, hazy, crazy days of the last summer before high school. Though set in a different time, Summer Days, Starry Nights is sure to resonate with all young readers on the verge of adolescence.

When I attended YA Fest Montreal a few months ago, I had the opportunity to meet with and speak to Vikki VanSickle.  This is how I happened upon my next book.

I was twelve years old the summer I watched the movie “Dirty Dancing” starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.  It stirred me in ways I didn’t know a movie could.  The music was fun, the dancing was tantalizing, and the romance…oh, the romance…

“Summer Days, Starry Nights” by Vikki VanSickle brings me back to the days when I was twelve and wishing I were sixteen.  The days when being a tween just wasn’t enough and growing up wouldn’t come fast enough.

A quick and easy read, this is a great coming of age book for tweens.  A book you can easily throw into your bag as you head to the beach or the pool.

Rennie loves staying at her family’s resort.  She helps her dad with all the chores and then still has time to spend sneaking away and soaking in the sunshine.  She loves the resort as much as she loves her family.  However, her mom hasn’t quite been herself and this strain has become noticeable to the other members of the family.

In order to liven up activities at the resort, Gwen, the daughter of an old family friend, arrives to give dance lessons to the guests.  Long-legged, blond, and gorgeous, Rennie strives to be like sixteen-year-old Gwen.  Who wouldn’t rather be like Gwen instead of Rennie, especially when you’re twelve?

With Gwen’s help over the course of the summer, Rennie plans a huge dance party.  This would certainly show everyone that she isn’t a child any longer.  However, growing up comes with huge responsibilities and even bigger consequences.  With a surprise twist that I did not see coming, Rennie finds out that growing up isn’t all that it’s cut out to be and maybe…just maybe, she shouldn’t be in such a hurry.

If you loved “Dirty Dancing” and looking for a way to connect with the younger generation in your life, hand them a copy of Vikki VanSickle’s book, “Summer Days, Starry Nights.”