Indian Summer
by Tracy Richardson

Luminis Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-935-46225-5.
Reviewed by Judy Miller
Posted on 01/03/2010


School is out and for twelve year-old Marcie Horton that means time at her grandparents' lake cabin while her university professor dad works with graduate students and her archeologist mom oversees a dig in Utah. Marcie will also be helping to crew a boat for the lake regatta with newly introduced Kaitlyn Swyndall, daughter of the wealthy and recently appointed university president.

Although looking forward to being with her grandparents and two brothers, Marcie, who wonders why she isn't comfortable with herself, is reluctant about spending time with Kaitlyn, who she perceives to have total self-confidence and be far more popular than she and her best friend Sara.

Marcie's assumption that she'll have a boring time at the lake proves otherwise. Instead she finds her time full, finding comfort in her long-known surroundings and excitement about new adventures and discoveries. Young adult readers will enjoy following Marcie as she grows in confidence while gently guided by the spirit of a young Native American girl to unlock mysteries about her special place, James Woods, and as she fights for something she feels strongly about.

Author Richardson does a nice job touching on and balancing the topics of peer pressure, adolescence, the environment, making responsible choices, living within "your means," and activism without seeming preachy. She also examines inter-class relationships nicely. The well-written plot of Indian Summer is interesting and readers will relate to Marcie.

Tracy Richardson lives in the suburbs of Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She says, "Indian Summer developed in my imagination over a period of many years. Marcie's story at Lake Pappakeechee explores different themes that interest me: the similarities and contrasts between different social and economic groups, the magic in the world that children are very much aware of, and the journey through adolescence to young adulthood."

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