Saturday, July 21, 2012
My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer, by Jennifer Gennari
It is pretty ideal except for Eva. Eva has just moved in with June and her mom. It's not like June didn't know that her mom was gay, but having Eva living with them is making June uncomfortable. After all, June and MJ have always had a rhythm, and Eva just doesn't fit. Now that Vermont's civil union law has passed, Eva and MJ are even talking about getting married!
But not everyone in their town is happy with the idea of civil unions. In fact, someone even had the nerve to put a "Take Back Vermont" sign on their front lawn. June isn't even sure what that means, but she doesn't stick around to find out. After Eva tears up the sign, June takes off with Luke to see the secret blueberry bushes that he found up by the jumping cliff. June can't wait to come back the next week to pick some for her pies. Before she and Luke leave, however, June's friend Tina's brother Sam and some of his friends show up. Sam calls June a "lezzie" for being too scared to jump off the cliff, and June starts to wonder if Sam put up the sign on her lawn. And does Tina feel the same way her brother does?
Soon the "Take Back Vermont" campaign starts to take off in town. Folks stop coming into the marina, and June starts to worry about her mom. But there are others who are willing to stick up for June, Eva and MJ, and June starts to realize that she needs to stick up for her family as well.
Overall this is a coming of age story that easily could have turned into a didactic piece about marriage equity. Gennari has managed to balance the discussion with June's struggles with friendships, her blossoming crush on Luke as well as the everyday growing pains that families go through. I am always on the look out for LGBT books to put in our collection, and honestly ones that fit the tween audience are hard to come by. My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer fits nicely into not only the LGBT collection, but into tween summer reads as well.