Author: Evan Griffith
Publisher: Harper Collins (Quill Tree Books)
Change is inevitable. Change happens at every stage of life. When young, accepting change is more difficult. Hence, when teenagers are made to leave their friends or familiar surroundings owing to the problems in the life of adults, they are, most often, on the brink of sinking into an abyss. Based on this theme is the story Manatee Summer.
When Peter and his friend, Tommy, break for the summer vacations, their goal of completing their Discovery Journal by documenting the animals they can find in Florida, keeps them on their toes. Soon, Peter meets a manatee, a sea cow, and he knows immediately that their bond is unbreakable. While Peter tries hard to come to grips with the harsh reality of his friend moving away emotionally, the manatee helps keep his spirits afloat. When Peter’s grandfather is moved to a rehabilitation centre because of his dementia and Peter’s father is unwell as well, he is faced with a choice of mending the broken bridges.
A fluid narrative and a strong storyline help in the plain sailing of the story. The characters are deep and it is enjoyable to witness Peter’s audacious and strong-willed journey to find a balance between joy and sorrow. Overall, Manatee Summer is a heart-breaking yet positive story about accepting changes and learning to go with the flow.
Best wishes to the author!
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