First time author Dawn Malone has crafted a winner in Bingo Summer. Charming, sweet, and artfully written, it takes top honors in my summer reading list. It’s just a superb example of middle grade lit. I loved it!
Okay, the initial catalyst for the plot is pretty unlikely. (Summer wins ten million dollars with a lottery ticket.) But the emotions the story conjures up once it gets rolling are absolutely universal. Forced to move across the state by her impetuous mother, Summer starts eighth grade in a new school where kids dress differently and act differently than she is accustomed to. She soon finds herself changing to become like everyone else and not liking the way it makes her feel. Her new friends aren’t friendly. Her dirt-poor past is an embarrassment she tries to hide. She’d give the money back if only she could go home! Rich or not, Summer’s emotional journey is an altogether human response that every single kid out there can identify with.
Now for my favorite part. Drop dead gorgeous writing. Let me show off some of the ingenious images Ms. Malone creates for us…
“…her pout stuck out far enough that I could have pegged her lower lip with my pea-shooter if I had it on me.”
“I followed her into the dining room with a table long enough for a plane to land on.”
“Snow had erased the horizon. Sky and landscape blended together in one solid, white wall. The woods across the road looked like tree-shaped ghosts, draped in snowy sheets.”
“Once I started talking, I couldn’t stop. It all spilled out, at first a little drip-drop of information as she looked over the pictures and articles. Then the words ran together, widening like a fast-moving stream, tumbling over a mountain waterfall, and they wouldn’t quit until I ran dry of every last detail.”
Doesn’t this remind you of the quality you find in an ALA notable book? Too bad the ALA doesn’t consider self-pubs or this one could sweep their awards! As it is, I’ve decided to honor it with the first Squeaky Award I’ve given out in quite some time. I highly recommend you grab this one up today for your 4th-8th grade reader. (It’s only 99 cents. How many traditional presses price like that?!) Two thumbs way up.