A Summer of Sundays by Lindsay Eland ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Target audience: Middle grade
Keywords: summer, small town, library, book loving main character
Format read: eBook from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)
Summary: Sunday is used to feeling a little forgotten in a family of six. So when her family relocates to a small town one summer, where her dad is redoing the library, she is determined to find something to make people remember her. A total and utter bookworm, Sunday discovers a manuscript in the old library. She is positive finding out the writer of this story will give her the attention she craves, and as her and her new friend, Jude, spend the summer on an adventure to find the answer, there are also some surprises.
You may not know it yet but you are probably a lot like Sunday. In most ways. Maybe you’re not smack dab in the middle of six kids in a family but even if you have another sibling, I’m sure your parents or relatives have mixed up your names. Or like me, with three older successful cousins, you can feel inferior sometimes. But I’ll go out on a limb and say you probably fit the bookish part of her. The girl who is so well-read (classics too!) at “almost 12”, she believes the library is magical, and she knows what it’s like to get lost in a story and its characters.
Seriously, Sunday is so enthusiastic about books you will fall in love with reading all over again.
In A Summer of Sundays, Sunday and her family are off to Alma for the summer. Her dad is helping to rebuild the library, her mom is chief organizer of the project, and the rest of their kids will make themselves at home for a few weeks. Sunday takes advantage of the new setting to seek out some circumstance that will help her stand out from her siblings once and for all. When she finds an unpublished manuscript in the library, her plan is to uncover the identity of the writer and make a splash with her discovery. She reluctantly divulges her find to new friend, Jude, who becomes her partner-in-crime and sometimes a voice of reason when Sunday gets a little too into things. (These two are too cute.)
As Sunday and Jude investigate within the town, we are introduced to some lovely supporting characters from Ms. Bodnar at the crepe shop and Mr. Castor, the misbehaving dog under the ownership of Muzzy and Phil. It was really wonderful to see how welcoming the small town was, and how easily Sunday’s family and the residents became friends and helped each other out. Eland really excels at the tiny details that allow each of these characters to feel so unique. (Even “off camera” with Sunday’s grandfather who always called Sunday his favorite day of the week.)
I can’t help but love Ben Folger, though. He’s the grumpy old neighbor that everyone is scared of and is connected to all these creepy rumors. Jude is scared to death of him, but Sunday’s interest is peaked. He’s just like a character in a few of her books! Maybe she can get him reconnected in society! I really liked watching this unconventional friendship unfold, and how Ben slowly reintroduced himself to a town that he has always loved (for many reasons). His own backstory is so romantic, and was truly a highlight of A Summer of Sundays for me.
There is so much to adore about this novel: Sunday’s curiosity to her insecurities with her place in the family, her older sister’s terrible driving lessons (who does not remember those times?!), loving (though busy) parents, and watching the process of a library go from an empty building to one where people can find joy in it again. And the allusion to To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee? Such a brilliant bonus.