Mar 15, 2012

Audio Review - The Summer I Learned To Fly by Dana Reinhardt

The Summer I Learned To Fly by Dana Reinhardt
July 12th, 2011 from Random House Listening Library

Eighteen-year-old Drew recalls the summer she was thirteen when her best friend was a rat, her mother started telling her lies, and her life long crush finds his true love - who is not Drew. Hanging out at a gourmet cheese shop may not sound like a good time to most, but for Drew she enjoys spending every waking moment surrounded by stinky Gouda and pungent Swiss. Plus, her crush Nick works there and she is content to stare at him all day long. When a strange boy named Emmett shows up in the alley of the cheese shop, she begins to think that maybe hanging out with her pet rat in a cheese shop is a bit overrated.

Drew and Emmett (a rat enthusiast and master paper crane maker because his last name is Crane) are both quirky and odd, and they make good companions for each other. Don't expect them to fall madly in love and sneak kisses next to the cheddar. It doesn't happen, but they do have something very special and unique. Drew is only thirteen after all! There is an air of mystery around Emmett. He is quiet and isn't quick to open up about his past. Drew's innocence comes through when she misses the signs that maybe Emmett doesn't have a picture perfect life. Before long, she realizes that Emmett is the first true-blue friend she has ever had. Only problem is, she may have figured this all out too late.

The relationship I enjoyed hearing about most is that of Drew and her mother. Both ladies have a big life turning points during this time and they do not rely on the solid relationship they have with one another. Drew's mother starts to spend less time alone and Drew resents her for this. Secrets are started, lies are told, and soon the two are at a breaking point. By the end of the story, both Drew and her rewrite their mother/daughter contract. They realize just how important they are to each other and understand not to take each other for granted. Each of their voices is realistic and I had compassion for them both.

The story was read by Shannon McManus. She also provides the voice for Lola and the Boy Next Door. I enjoyed her portrayal of Drew and thought she was a fine fit. The story is quite short and a great choice for a four hour road trip with a middle schooler or young adult. This one isn't action packed, but the characters are endearing and when we jump back to eighteen-year-old Drew, we enjoy hearing what everyone is up to today. Well, almost everyone.

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You can find Reinhardt at her website