Forever This Summer by Leslie C. Youngblood

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Forever This Summer (Love Like Sky): Youngblood, Leslie C.: 9780759555204: Books

Summary:  In this follow-up to Love Like Sky, Georgie and her mother return to Mom’s hometown of Bogalusa, Louisiana to take care of Aunt Vie, who is losing her memory to Alzheimer’s.  For many years Vie was a fixture at her diner, which is now being run by her two sisters.  When Georgie finally gets permission to help at the diner, she meets Markie, a 12-year-old girl in foster care, who, despite a limb difference (she’s missing part of one arm), is able to be a better waitress than Georgie feels she can ever hope to be.  When Markie asks Georgie to help her to find her real mother, Georgie finds herself in situations that push the boundaries of what she knows is right, even as she is trying to organize a talent show to raise money for Alzheimer’s.  Mid-summer, her best friend Nikki comes for a visit, and Georgie finds herself in an even more delicate balancing act as she’s pulled in different directions by her old friend and her new one.  As the summer ends, Georgie deals more or less gracefully with many changes and new discoveries, hopefully paving the way for book 3.  Includes an author’s note with additional information about Alzheimer’s.  336 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Georgie’s story perfectly captures summer life in a small Southern town, with memorable characters and settings.  Black history and civil rights lessons are woven seamlessly into the plot.  There aren’t a lot of children’s books about Alzheimer’s, and this story does a great job portraying a character with the disease, and assuring readers that the person is still who they always were despite their memory loss.

Cons:  There are also few books about characters with limb differences, and I wish there had been more about Markie’s.

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