Jennifer Gennari's middle grade novel My Mixed Up Berry Blue Summer was one of my recent Amazon Vine picks. The Vine program has introduced me to many books I may not have otherwise learned about, and this latest tween novel is just one of those great books that I am so glad to have discovered.
I will admit to only skimming the blurb on this book before I requested it and wasn't sure of what this book was about. Had I read the entire blurb I may not have selected it, yet once I started reading I realized what an important topic Genarri covers and how much a book like this is needed at the middle grade level.
June and her mother live in Vermont where her mom runs a shop that specializes in homemade pies and cookies. Summer looks to be full of pie baking as June looks to enter her first pie baking contest, until June begins to see signs posted around town protesting Vermont's civil union laws. June knows that people in town know about her mother and her mom's girlfriend. She has heard them talking before. While June is having her own tough time accepting that her mom has found someone she wants to spend her life with, ending the arrangment of it always being June who received her mom's undivided attention, the focus on her mom's lifestyle choice and other's reaction to it creates additional confusion.
Genarri handles this subject so sensitively, showing how June is affected by all of this, and shares her struggles to understand why others are so cruel. While June would like nothing more than to get out of the spotlight, others challenge her to stand up for herself and what she knows is right.
Whether or not you agree with civil unions, this is a wonderfully well written book that tackles a timely subject. I have not read another middle grade book in the perspective of a child with same sex parents. Because I think there are great discussion points in this book, I plan on reading it aloud to my oldest daughter.