Finished Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“A heartfelt contemporary middle grade novel, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree, about a girl who is sent to live with her aunt and must try to save their failing pie shop.
When twelve-year-old Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she doesn’t know what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, or even living inside, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.
Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs. Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s pie shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?
Summer of a Thousand Pies is a sweet and satisfying treat of a novel full of friendship, family, and, of course, pie.”
Kids today have so many better book choices than I did when I was their age! Middlegrade books are amazing now, and I’m honestly jealous.
I loved Margaret Dilloway’s first two adult novels (and just found out that there’s a third I haven’t read!) and so getting to read her middlegrade book—I think it’s a debut!—was a no-brainer. Her ability to make her characters immediately seem so vibrant is incredibly rare.
I felt like I had known Cady forever, and felt her nervousness at going with an aunt she’d never met and had barely heard of to a town she’s never been while her dad is out of the picture. I completely understood why she barely trusted anyone (she had basically one friend back home; people and especially young kids aren’t exactly kind to homeless people, even if one of them is a kid, too) and how she didn’t really understand the concept of…well, anything.
Her only real treasured possession is a cookbook of her mom’s (who died when Cady was five) and so learning that her aunt Shell was a baker too was a dream come true. It’s how they initially connect and so Cady decides (OK, more accurately is told) that she will make a thousand pies over the summer because that’s the best way to become great at something. (Which is true—practice and repetition goes pretty far in love.)
I loved the town and its residents (it almost seemed like a west coast Stars Hollow, in that everyone genuinely cared for each other and it’s also far less quirky).