Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Today's read... The Firefly Summer by Morgan Matson

Summer isn't summer without a read surrounding summer camp (a lot of summer going on, huh?). Today's read promises to be quite the adventure and take readers to pure outdoor fun, while solving a mystery and more. The cover has me dreaming of our own kayak adventures...and reminds me that I really do need to take the kids on some before school starts again. 

But first, let's take a peek at this read!

by Morgan Matson
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Middle Grade Mystery
400 pages
ages 8 to 12

The Penderwicks meets The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street in a story about a young girl who gets to know her mom’s side of the family and hunts for hidden treasure over the course of one chaotic summer.

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.

GOODREADS   /    BOOKSHOP    /     AMAZON    /    B&N


Family, summer camp, and treasure maps...this book holds all the ingredients to form the foundation for a wonderful read.

Ryanna is an only child with an amazing step-mother and a very loving father, who just happens to be a movie director and script writer. Although her mother died several years before, Ryanna's as happy as can be...until she receives a letter. Her grandparents, the ones from her mother's side which she forgot exist, have invited her to stay with them for the summer. At first, she refuses but when realizing that she'll have a chance to learn more about her mother, decides to give it a go. What she doesn't expect is to land in the middle of cousins, aunts, and uncles, she didn't even know she had. Worse yet, the ex-summer camp that belongs to her grandparents is in danger of being torn down...and when if that happens, all the clues surrounding her mother would disappear, too.

The setting is every reader's dream: an empty summer camp with lake, docks, forests, kayaks, and the freedom to run around almost however the kids please. Plus, Ryanna's relatives pack tons of personality and fun. Even the adults (for the most part, anyway) take life in stride and handle things with patience, humor, and finesse. It's the perfect setting to launch Ryanna's search for more about her mother, especially since this involves a treasure map with all sorts of clues. While some of these were obvious (not to Ryanna, though), the search adds to the excitement.

The mystery left behind by Ryanna's mother plays along between adventures with the cousins and worries about the neighbor, who is threatening to bulldoze the camp to the ground. Then, there's the side problem of the father's not-so-smooth relationship with the grandparents. In other words, there's always something going on. It creates a rich read but makes for a longer one, too. Still, it's fun to follow every moment of shenanigans, and there are quite a few. 

This is a fun summer camp adventure that will have readers wishing they could join Ryanna and her cousins, and go on as many adventures as they do.

And here she is...

Morgan Matson is the New York Times bestselling author of six books for teens, including Since You’ve Been Gone and Save the Date, and the middle grade novel Firefly Summer. She lives in Los Angeles but spends part of every summer in the Pocono Mountains. Visit her at

No comments: