Twelve year old Marcie Horton is not looking forward to spending a lonely and boring summer at her grandparents’ lake cottage. That is until the woods near their home are threatened with development by the wealthy president of the university where her parents teach. Marcie’s attempt to save the forest is aided by her brother, Eric, their elderly neighbor, Al, and a mysterious Native American girl who appears to Marcie in dreams and visions. Their effort is complicated by Marcie’s developing friendship with Kaitlyn Stoller, the University president’s popular daughter, and the annual sailboat race where Marcie finds herself competing with the wealthy lake property owners against the local residents.
Unlike many stories in this genre, Richardson presents conflicts and issues that are subtly shaded with no clear good vs. bad, right vs. wrong. This real-world treatment of complex social and environmental issues places Indian Summer a notch above similar stories. Richardson create(s) complex, yet realistic relationships. Indian Summer is a thoughtfully written story requiring the reader to consider a number of value judgments along the way. For the YA reader . . . an entertaining and informative read. Thoughtfully written adventure with a hint of magic.”
– Thomas Temple, Amazon Reviewer
Standing against development can prove tough when your closest ally is incorporeal. “Indian Summer” tells the tale of Marcie Horton, a young girl spending the summer in her family’s lake cottage. Embracing the forest around her, she soon fears that it will be demolished by development, and direct opposition to this development may lead to Marcie’s parents being out of jobs. Finding solace in a spirit of the past, “Indian Summer” is a unique read middle school readers will relish.
— Midwest Book Review
I’ve been blessed in these past few weeks with young adult books that have taken me to places I have absolutely not wanted to come back from. This book will be one that will sit on my shelf for a very long time, and I will pass along to my daughter, her daughter, etc.
I loved this book. The writer really delved into all the areas of teenage angst. From the gut-wrenching scenes of peer-pressure to the maximum, when poor Marcie has to find a way to fit into a world that she doesn’t understand – and, doesn’t even like – to the effects that big business has on nature conservancy and the preservation of the past – the author has found a way to focus on major issues in an absolutely fun and exciting way.
I look forward to reading a lot more in the future from this writer.
— Amy Lignor, Bookpleasures
I loved this novel which has a beautiful summer backdrop – think of hot days, the scent of flowers, dappled sunshine, chirping crickets and hay stacks. Richardson builds up the atmosphere of summer really well in her young adult novel. I felt compelled to keep reading and to find out if Marcie and her friends and family could really pull together and help save James Wood.
I would certainly recommend this novel to early teenage readers. It is fun yet mysterious and also delivers that all important feeling of suspense. Certainly a book worth reading.
–Jessica Roberts, Bookpleasures
Twilight got your tween reading, which is great. But let’s be honest here, it isn’t the best form of literature available out there. And while your tween might not be ready (or willing) to give Shakespeare a try at this point in her life, parents can continue feeding this new-found interest for reading by picking up more books that are not only geared at tweens, but are well written, have an intriguing plot and whose main character is relatable to them.
Tracy Richardson’s Indian Summer is exactly that.
Marcie is a good kid, albeit not a perfect one, a reflection of the family that raised her. While a little unreal in a world filled with horror stories about broken families and harsh intra-family disputes, it’s a reminder of what families should be – strong, loving, loyal yet imperfect.
But this is what makes this book particularly interesting, and gives it the strong potential of touching a chord in tweens: it’s realistic while having a touch of the fantastic (i.e. Marcie’s visions).
Indian Summer is also an interesting first glance and timid exploration of inter-class dynamics. Stereotypes are gently addressed, perhaps in a somewhat transparent way, but still realistically so. After all, while twelve-year-olds are extremely intelligent and are actively seeking to understand the world around them with their ever-increasing capacity to analyze, they can’t comprehend the depths of the social class divide. Especially since adults don’t even understand it fully.
If you’re the kind of parent who likes to read what your tween reads, rest assured: Indian Summer is a book you will also like reading. Although you will probably finish it very quickly. While the quality of the writing is high, the style is kept relatively simple, respecting a tween’s intelligence while keeping the story readable
– Sahar, Blogcritics.org
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.
A great read for tween girls
–Judy Miller, Story Circle Book Reviews
The storyline [of Indian Summer] is calming, interesting, and intriguing . . . it also gives a feeling of suspense. I recommend this book to every young reader… Richardson is a fabulous author . . . and I certainly hope to read many more of her books. I thought Indian Summer was superb, and it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire story.
–Brenna Bales, Reader Views
Is a new housing development inevitable progress or are there important reasons to keep James Wood as it has been for millennia? Marcie’s family values and the desire to be accepted by a wealthy, popular girl from school pull her in conflicting directions until she learns to choose for herself. Sailing details give a feeling of reality to this summer-at-the-lake story. At the same time, the sense of flying so strong it feels real and a bracelet that links the present with . . . Native American past lend a mystical flavor that carries readers beyond the ordinary.
–LeAnne Hardy, author of Between Two Worlds and The Wooden OxBrenna Bales, Reader Views