THE FIREFLY SUMMER, by Morgan Matson, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 2, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
A girl spends summer vacation with her estranged maternal grandparents in The Firefly Summer, a middle-grade novel by Morgan Matson.
For as long as Ryanna Stuart can remember, her summers have been spent with her father and his new wife. Just the three of them, structured, planned, and quiet. But this summer is different. This summer, she’s received a letter from her grandparents—grandparents neither she nor her dad have spoken to since her mom’s death—inviting her to stay with them at an old summer camp in the Poconos.
Ryanna accepts. She wants to learn about her mom. She wants to uncover the mystery of why her father hasn’t spoken to her grandparents all these years. She’s even looking forward to a quiet summer by the lake. But what she finds are relatives…so many relatives! Aunts and uncles and cousins upon cousins—a motley, rambunctious crew of kids and eccentric, unconventional adults. People who have memories of her mom from when she was Ryanna’s age, clues to her past like a treasure map. Ryanna even finds an actual, real-life treasure map!
Over the course of one unforgettable summer—filled with s’mores and swimming, adventure and fun, and even a decades-old mystery to solve—Ryanna discovers a whole new side of herself and that, sometimes, the last place you expected to be is the place where you really belong. —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster
The Firefly Summer is all about family and friendship. Set in the family’s summer camp, the book transports readers to the Pennsylvania woods. The family is in danger of losing their land to developers who want to build condos, and Ryanna thinks she can save it — if she can find the treasure marked on the map her mom left behind.
The Firefly Summer is a heartfelt read full of fun and mystery. Kids will enjoy the treasure hunt, and parents will appreciate the call to encourage free play. It’s a fast-moving read full of humor and quirky characters.
*The Firefly Summer is a Cybils-nominated book. This review is my opinion and not the opinion of the middle-grade fiction panel as a whole.
Copyright © 2023 Cracking the Cover. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.