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Summer of the Shark

Summer of the Shark is a coming of age story about a 12-year-old boy named Ryan. His parents send him to spend the summer with his grandfather, Artie. He sets off, expecting to have an awful time and instead has the best summer ever, filled with sharks, baseball, an almost teenage romance and lots of bonding with his grandfather. It turns out to be an unforgettable summer.

What stood out for me was the ability of DiVitto Kelly to write the dialogue in such a way that I could really ‘hear’ the accents in my head. That helped the characters come alive, especially Artie. Having the ability to create characters that can jump off the page is a genuine talent.

The author shows us a heartwarming relationship developing, starting with a reluctant Ryan flying out to spend the summer with Artie only to discover that in fact Artie is pretty cool, driving a Jag, letting him do things his parents wouldn’t, and letting Ryan explore his love of sharks. The other main character is Veronica, who Ryan falls for during his visit. She was my least favorite character, only because I felt that she was not as developed as Ryan and Artie so I didn’t get the same feeling of knowing her as I did with Ryan and Artie –but that didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the story. The book is set in the mid-1970’s and that comes through loud and clear in the book, with talk of Kodak projectors, flash cubes, Wendy’s opening and so many other excellent descriptions that clearly set the time period. The book centers on family, friendship and relationships. As a 12-year-old, you would rather spend time with your friends than elderly grandparents. But this book shows that you shouldn’t discount your grandparents from being friends, you can have fun with them and that relationship can teach you so much. It left me with a genuine feeling of warmth and made me want to give my kids more time with their grandparents so they can have a relationship like Ryan and Artie’s.

Pages: 275 | ASIN: B088P5M2VJ

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