Reviews for The Hot and Cold Summer

by Johanna Hurwitz

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The first 50 pages, uncharacteristically for Hurwitz, are pure juvenile sit-corn: Rory Dunn and Derek Curry, one-house-apart and inseparable, vow--sight unseen--to have nothing to do with Bolivia, summer-visiting great-niece of their mutual neighbor Mrs. Golding, and also age ten. (To Rory, shorter and bossy, she's an interloper, a threat--but he hee-haws about her name, about her archaeologist-parents going to Turkey.) The day of Bolivia's arrival, they spend with ""boring"" Maurice, his stamp collection, violin, and health food. Better, they'll go home to the Dunns' cookout, and ""just ignore her."" With red-headed, outgoing, voluble-on-every-subject Bolivia, that takes some doing--mouthfuls of food. The next day--by accident?--Bolivia's ""Lucette"" gets loose: not a little sister, as they presumed, but a sassy parrot (and a sure silence-breaker). After that, there's no stopping Bolivia. Mrs. Golding treats to the movies, and Bolivia changes to a T-shirt that matches Derek's and Rory's. But--a breach in the stereotype gag humor--when Rory keeps spilling food on her, she percipiently drenches him in coke. Then, as Rory is warming to her good ideas (like an ice-cream snowball fight), Derek announces he has to go to camp--but Rory can ""have fun"" with Bolivia. NO? ""You just won't admit that you're wrong. You just want everything to be your way all the time. Well. . . I'm glad I'm going to camp. At least you can't boss me around while I'm there."" Rory, devastated, soon hears the same thing from Bolivia--and grudgingly admits that he has no one else to play with. In the backyard at night, they whisper about space and time, her past-occupied parents, his parents' preoccupation with little sister Edna. (""I think you're wrong. . . . They just think you're older so you can be more independent."") Sealing their new closeness are the serendipitous rewards (English teacher Mr. Dunn's vocabulary-stretcher) of selling ""Lemon-Aid"" (Rory's lousy spelling). And when, after Derek's smooth return, it's time for Bolivia's departure, the proceeds of that day go to buy matching T-shirts that read: BOLIVIA, MORE THAN JUST ANOTHER COUNTRY. Hurwitz pulls the irons out of this fire, in sum, with an unfounded suggestion of depths--topped off with a socko finale. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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