Book Title: Umbrella Summer
Author: Lisa Graff
Genre: Fiction, Inspirational
Books like it: Love, Aubrey
My favorite quote:
"Maybe it only took one person to open an umbrella and stick it up in the air to block out the rain, but it took a whole lot of people to close it. And even though I was pretty sure I still had a few more inches to go, I knew that once my umbrella was all the way closed, I was going to keep it that way for a long time. Because it turns out, I like the sunshine.”
Brief Synopsis from Goodreads:
Annie Richards knows there are a million things to look out for—bicycle accidents, food poisoning, chicken pox, smallpox, typhoid fever, runaway zoo animals, and poison oak. That's why being careful is so important, even if it does mean giving up some of her favorite things, like bike races with her best friend, Rebecca, and hot dogs on the Fourth of July. Everyone keeps telling Annie not to worry so much, that she's just fine. But they thought her brother, Jared, was just fine too, and Jared died.
It takes a new neighbor, who looks as plain as a box of toothpicks but has some surprising secrets of her own, to make Annie realize that her plans for being careful aren't working out as well as she had hoped. And with a lot of help from those around her—and a book about a pig, too—Annie just may find a way to close her umbrella of sadness and step back into the sunshine.
With winsome humor and a dash of small-town charm, Lisa Graff's third novel is a touching look at rising above grief and the healing power of community.
Umbrella Summer was one of those books that touches your heart and makes your eyes a little teary. It is about a girl named Annie, and last year her brother Jared died when he got hit in the chest while playing hockey. Ever since, Annie has been the most careful person in the world. She no longer rides her bike up the hill, she walks it. Instead of buying the cute flipflops that she wants, she buys Band-Aids to cover up every cut and scrape, and most of all, she never does anything fun.
Everyone in her community understands, but the other kids are starting to miss her and all the fun things that she used to do. Annie can never seem to get over Jared's death, and her parents treat her a lot different now that he is gone.
"I've been thinking about what you said, you know."
"What you were asking about before. About wills. What I'd give to people, and all that?"
I clacked the hills of my bowling shoes on the floor and noticed a pencil rolling around by my left foot.
"Oh, yeah," I said. I waited for Tommy to keep talking, but he didn't. "So?"
"Yeah," he said, nodding slow. "I was just thinking that I don't think I'd have one."
Down at the very end of the lane, I could see Charles's head bobbing behind the pins, trying to get Mrs. L's ball. "How come?" I asked.
"Well, I guess if I had a million dollars or something like that I would." He picked up the cookie tin from the seat between us and took out another cookie. "But I just have stuff. And I don't think that people need stuff to remember me." He took another bite and held out the tin to me so I could take a cookie too. "I guess I think people will just remember me 'cause of the things I did."
When an old lady moves across the street, she might show Annie that it is time to move on. With the help of her friends and someone she thought could never be her friend, Annie will learn to close her umbrella and step into the sunshine.
This made me cry:
"Don't call me Moonbeam anymore," I told him.
"What?" he said.
"Don't call me that anymore unless you mean it."
Mom came down the last few steps. "Annie, are you okay?" she asked. "What's going on?"
I shook my head at them, at both of them. "You still have to be my parents, you know. Even if Jared's dead. You still have to be my parents." And then I bolted past my mom up the stairs and into my room, slamming my door closed behind me.
Pros: This book might seem like it is for kids, and even though it is a fast read, it could really be for anyone. It was touching and sad and had a wonderful message.
Cons: Poor little Annie and her brother Jared! I am so sad for her, but glad that she learns to change.
Review: 4 stars