CYBILS Review: A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland
When you're the third of six kids, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle, but Sunday Fowler is determined that this summer she'll find the one thing that makes her stand out from her siblings.
And when she discovers a silver box in the basement of the library her parents are renovating, she might just have found something to gain her the attention she so craves. Inside is a series of letters addressed to "The Librarian" and a manuscript. But who wrote them? With the help of annoying neighbor-turned-new-friend Jude, Sunday is determined to track down the author. And when she unveils this novel to the world, she'll be famous!
But uncovering this manuscript means stirring up secrets that some people in the town hoped to keep buried. And Sunday must decide if some things -- loyalty, trust, friendship -- are worth more than her name in the headlines.
I really enjoyed this book, much more than I expected. Sunday is a middle child and she feels like she's often forgotten in the chaos of family life. But this summer, Sunday determines will be different. She will make her mark in some way making it impossible for her family to forget her like they did at the gas station. While helping her father renovate Alma's library she makes a discovery that she believes will help her in her quest. Her new friend, Jude, is recruited to help Sunday make a statement, but her plan will only work if she can figure out who wrote the manuscript she found. Sunday's efforts to uncover the author lead to the revealing of secrets that others don't want shared. Sunday must make a choice about what is truly important to her before it is too late.
Strengths: The relationships between Sunday and her family are priceless, in my mind the best part of the book. Like many children, Sunday struggles to get along with her siblings, especially when it seems they get more attention than she does. The other relationships in the book are well done as well, Sunday's friendship with Jude, her attempts to get to know Ben Folger, the town hermit, as well as the thrift store owners with a huge dog they can't control. The relationships feel very real and are quite enjoyable to read about. Also the mystery unfolds in a believable manner. While I figured it out quite early in the story it was interesting to read about Sunday's thoughts as she uncovered clues. Reminded me in some ways of The Penderwicks.
Weaknesses: I'm not sure how much middle grade readers will enjoy the literary mystery. They certainly won't see the parallels to Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) that I saw very clearly as I read.
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