The Hidden Summer by Gin Phillips
Posted by Caitie F on June 14, 2013
Summary from pub:
After a falling out between their mothers, 13-year-old best friends Nell and Lydia are forbidden from seeing each other for the whole summer. Nell struggles with the thought of not only losing her best friend, but also losing the only person in whom Nell finds refuge from the difficulties she faces at home. Determined to find a place of their own, Nell and Lydia spend the summer hiding out in an abandoned golf course where Nell and Lydia find mysterious symbols scattered throughout the grounds. As they reveal the secret of the symbols, Nell discovers she isn’t the only one seeking haven and begins to uncover what’s really been hidden all along, finally allowing herself to be truly seen.
If you are looking for a light, middle grade summer read, this is not the book you are looking for. If you are looking for a middle grade book that looks at mental illness in a parent and how it affects a child, friendship, and learning to mature, then pick this book up.
Nell is the kind of kid you wish didn’t have to exist. Her mom suffers from a mental illness, never specifically stated, and Nell never knows what she will get when she gets home – happy mom, quiet mom, or angry mom. Even when her mom is happy, she always have to look for signs for a sudden change. Her dad is gone and she has had many stepfathers.
It just breaks your heart and really brings the character to life.
Yet Nell is a smart girl and a kind girl. She genuinely cares about other people, is adventurous, and does her best. It brings the reader joy when she is happy and when sad things happen, you want to jump into the book and cheer her up.
This is a serious book, but worth a read.