The Summer of Lost Letters

Razorbill. Jun. 2021. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593349724.
Gr 7 Up–Seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg has recently lost her grandmother O’ma and discovers a stash of old love letters among her belongings. The letters tell of a romance on Nantucket during the 1950s that was passionate but ended badly. Her grandmother never spoke of that time of her life and Abby’s curiosity is piqued, so with her parent’s permission she obtains a summer job on the island and begins to sleuth out what happened in O’ma’s past. Abby soon befriends Noah, the grandson of the man who wrote the letters, and the two confront some hard truths and prejudices that O’ma endured as a Jewish refugee, who lost her biological family in Auschwitz and then lost her secondary family in America. This is a blend of romance, history, and a coming-of-age narrative that all ties together well. Abby and Noah’s Jewish faith and background are respectfully represented and showcase the reality that some Jews have to downplay their religion and culture to fit in. Abby and Noah are cued as white and secondary characters have various ethnicities.
VERDICT This contemporary romance with a healthy mix of historical fiction, that also incorporates some deeper truths, will be a fun summer read. A solid YA purchase.

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