The Great Good Summer review by muffin
The Great Good Summer
by Liz Garton Scanlon
Age Range - 8 - 12
Genre - Fiction

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 12
Reviewer's Location - Stow, MA, United States
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Ivy Blank Green as she calls herself due to her having no middle name (her parents wanted to leave a space for God to fill) is in the 7th grade and is not having the most ideal summer. After a bunch of  forest fires destroy many towns near Ivy’s home in Loomer, Texas her mom volunteers to help out the devastated residents. When she comes back, she's different, broken almost, until one day she just leaves.   She’s gone.  She doesn’t leave a note and, as far as Ivy is concerned, her mom is leaving her and her father high and dry. Her mother supposedly ran off with some preacher named Halleluyah Dave of the Great Good Bible Church of Panhandle Florida. Ivy is miserable until one day she strikes up a friendship with science nerd Paul Dobbs, who wants to be an astronaut. 
Paul proposes that they go and find Ivy's mother in Florida and bring her home. Paul also has a plan of his own, and that is to see the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. After two days on a scary Greyhound bus, and nearly getting kidnapped they reach their destination, only to find that Ivy’s mom isn't there.  What is worse is that they don't have enough money to get back home.


I had a difficult time deciding if I liked this book.  I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the setting.  The one part that bothered me was one small element.  The book has a very religious tone.  God is referred to, spoken about and discussed multiple times. In the end I decided that I did like the book, it was just that the religious piece was unexpected and I had to adjust.  The book has a good message, that nobody really gets their ideal happy ever after.  The book discusses the consequences of running away and takes a very realistic look at mother-daughter relationships.   I also enjoyed watching Ivy and Paul's friendship grow because Paul doesn't really believe in God and Ivy had been raised in a very religious family and town.  

Content Rating:

Content rating - religious perspective

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The book has a very religious tone. God is referred to, spoken about and discussed multiple times. I'd go so far as to say multiples times in every chapter. One character is a very strong believer in God and the other character is not. There are a lot of big idea conversation about religion between the two.




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