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A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson


Ellen has always wanted nothing more than to learn the domestic arts of cooking and cleaning, and to care for others. When she lands a job as the housekeeper at a performing arts school in Austria, she is thrilled! Along with the children to care for and the gardens to nurture, however, she finds herself caught up in a much deeper plot. As Hitler is on the rise and the second world war is beginning, Ellen must help to prepare their friends and school for the coming turbulence.


AGE RANGE TEEN

Suggested for ages 13+


THEMES

Theatre

Cooking

Romance

School

World War II

Austria


OVERALL RATING 7/10

A Song for Summer is a beautiful and entertaining book. Ibbotson knows how to make a character stand out, and her books are full of distinct personalities that will stick with you long after you flip the last page. The plot is interesting, and the ideas are unique. Unfortunately, this book is a little outdated, and does have some racist and sexist aspects that can be hard to look past. The plot is also quite predictable, which some people may find irritating. Altogether, I really enjoyed reading this - just be mindful of what you are reading, and remember to think critically about the terminology and stereotypes used!


PROS Great characters

Unique story aspects

Beautiful scenery

Violence and Scariness 1/5 Living in Nazi-ruled areas. Mention suicide. Man shot. Man runs into burning building. Mention of torture. Sex and Romance 2/5 Mention of sex. Nudity. Children enact birthing themselves in acting class.

CONS Sexist

Fat-shaming

Racist

Predictable


Emotional Intensity 2/5 Feeling unwelcome in family. Elderly friend dies. Children at boarding school missing parents. Living in Hitler's regime. Drinking and Drugs 1/5 Mention of alcohol.


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