Monday, February 11, 2008

Seventeenth Summer, by Maureen Daly

Daly, Maureen (2002). Seventeenth Summer. New York: Simon Pulse. 291 pages.

Summary and Evaluation: Angie Morrow has just finished High School and expects to spend her summer hanging around the house and reading, but that was before she starts going out with Jack. Angie discovers the sensation and anxiety of being in love as Jack takes her sailing driving and picnicking in their small town. As the summer progresses, Angie makes mistakes along the way like going out with Tony when she should have said “no,” and learning what it is like to think constantly about a boy. Jack and Angie’s feelings for one another intensify, but they are forced to face the realities that summer does not last forever. At first Angie’s naivety and the slow narration of the text frustrated and annoyed me. Angie rarely speaks to Jack and though they are in love they hardly know each other. But as the story progressed, I began to enjoy the long descriptions of nature scenes and Angie’s introspective moments. Her innocence progressed into a deep understanding of herself. The book is successful in showing Angie’s maturation from a child into an adult. By the end of the story, she is no longer as concerned with what her parents think. While at times the text was overdone, it still told stories without words. I knew exactly what Lorraine’s relationship with Martin was without being told the details and without Angie even realizing them. The old fashioned language like “fellows” and “go with” even became enjoyable.

Booktalk Hook: This book presents a culture of dating and adolescence that has disappeared and is a depiction of average life in early 1940's America. I would present it as a romance from a different time and offer at an entertaining contrast from YA romance novels of today.

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