Summer Sanctuary Reviewed By Monique Burkes of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer Monique Burkes. Monique is a transplant to Columbia, SC who simply loves to read.Â She reads with her 2 young daughters and finds time for reading "treats" for her own pleasure as well! To know more about Monique, click on her Blog.View all articles by Monique Burkes
Author: Laurie Gray
Publisher: Luminis Books
Matthew knows that this summer is going to be the worst ever. His best friend Kyle is gone, his younger brother Mark has surpassed him in size and athletic ability, and his mother is pregnant for the fifth time.
The eldest home-schooled son of a preacher, Matthew plans to bury himself in books about the speed of light and Einstein's Theory of Relativity to see if he can prove his own theory about the dilation of time.
Instead, he befriends Dinah, a homeless teenager seeking refuge at the library.
Although from very different backgrounds, Matthew and Dinah come to realize that they have a great deal in common - their love for music, and for cans of olives and potato chips found in a supermarket dumpster that are just past the sell-by date . . . and maybe even for each other.
Matthew struggles with his feelings for his own family as he helps Dinah avoid Child Welfare. And in the process, Dinah helps him discover that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a very big difference.
Laurie Gray's Summer Sanctuary is a wonderfully moving story in which both the shy and studious Matthew and the worldly and tomboyish Dinah grow up so much in just a few short weeks. Matthew meets Dinah, whom he originally thought was a boy, at the library, when she takes his half-eaten lunch out of the trash can and eats it. He's watching from a window inside the library.
While Matthew is intrigued by this girl who has eaten from the trash, Dinah is extremely hesitant to tell her story the first time they talk, but by the next day, she obviously needs someone to confide in – and Matthew seems like he can keep a secret.
Dinah, waiting on her mother to get out of a stint in jail, leaves the apartment they share with her mother's boyfriend after he asks Dinah to replace her mother in the bedroom. She has no place to go, so she's been sleeping wherever she can lay her head down.
Matthew's father is the preacher of the nearby church, and he has an idea that Dinah can sleep in the church basement at night, and leave early each morning. Of course Dinah likes the idea since her other option is to sleep outside in the park.
Dinah teaches Matthew how she has been able to survive for the past 10 days on her own, outside. He's a friend when she needs one the most – who won't tell his parents and get child services involved. She's there to encourage him when he's feeling depressed over his friend being gone for the summer and his mother being pregnant – again.
He's the piano player who has taken lessons to be as good as he is. She's the harmonicist who can't read music and just plays by ear. He's the 13-year old homes schooled student who has decided to study “time dilation and the speed of light” over the summer. She's the homeless girl who expresses her emotions through poetry.
Neither of them is the same person by the end of the summer.
Matthew and Dinah's story is a beautiful and touching one. The story is a well-written one and describes some of the feelings that teenagers have about their family, and about what it means to be a friend.
The kids have different backgrounds and would never have met if not for Dinah's hunger and Matthew's lunch at the library.
Laurie Gray is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and has served as an author and lecturer for the National Symposium on Child Abuse. Laurie is the founder of Socratic Parenting, LLC