Review: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

6609764Published: January 26th 2010

Publisher: Harper Collins/ Amistad

Series: Gaither Sisters #1

Genres: Juvenile/ Young-Adult /Historical-Fiction/ Cultural/ Realistic-Fiction

Format: Paperback (224 pages)

Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4 Stars

Find It: Goodreads | Amazon

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

In a humorous and breakout book by Williams-Garcia, the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers.

My Thoughts: I love this book and these characters. It’s funny and enlightening and all the things you think about growing up in an African-American household.

Delphine is very smart for her age of only 11. She is the oldest of three and has taken her role as big sister very well. She also takes on the role of helping out her father and grandmother in the wake of her mother abandoning them. I absolutely adore her and she reminds me of someone that I grew up with.

When they are presented with the opportunity to visit their mother Cecile in Oakland, CA, the girls are faced with a very different woman than they pictured. Cecile, or Nzila in this case, is very disturbing but by the end of this book, I felt sorry for her, almost. She’s not as cruel as I thought and the author gives you that view to just make you like her.

The girls spend time at a Black Panther summer camp and you get the feel for the time and place of what that decade was like. In CA, that was a very chaotic time- the 60s, and even with Delphine’s voice shining through, I took a lot away from those moments.

There’s no shortage of drama here and that is what I liked about this book. However, the ending kind of made me pessimistic but I know that there can’t always be rainbows and sunshine. I can’t wait to read the other books and see what’s next for Delphine, Fern, and Vonetta. These girls are truly amazing characters. I definitely recommend to young and older readers alike.


9 thoughts on “Review: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

  1. The premise of this one slightly reminds me of Crooklyn in that it’s seems to be a coming of age story for a young black girl. I am actually really digging the idea of this one and am curious about what the girls learn from and about their mother and the Black Panther Party.


    • Yessss! Crooklyn comes to mind when you read this. Though, very different, yet similar, it will have you hooked. I’m reading book 2, P.S. Be Eleven, now and the 3rd book Gone Crazy In Alabama next. It comes out next month and I got the ARC from Edelweiss. They are all standalone, but I wanted to read them in order.


    • Yes, it’s good to have that type of ending; especially with a first book in a series. As far as it being MG, that shows the younger audience that there’s not always a happily ever after but you life can go on. I find it refreshing, actually, which is rare in MG/YA books. It’s also realistic fiction so that’s a plus.


I love comments, and try to reply as often as I can. Know that I read each and every one.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s