Book Review: The Summer I Got A Life

by Melissa on February 11, 2010 · 1 comment

in 14-17, 9-12, Family & Relationships, Good book for boys, Lexile 600-699, Social Issues

Title: The Summer I Got A Life
Publisher:WestSide Books
Author: Mark Fink
Lexile: [?] HL690L
ATOS Level: [?] TBD
Parent Rating:
VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
PAUSE For Ages: 9-12


Fifteen-year-old Andy Crenshaw’s about to have the summer of his life. He’s an ordinary, awkward kid who doesn’t stand out at his high school. He doesn’t hang with the popular crowd, and he’s not a “semi-delinquent” or geek. Girls don’t seem to notice him unless he’s doing something stupid, and he lives in the shadow of his cool, good-looking, athletic older brother,Brad,a bona fide chick-magnet.The boys don’t exactly get along, and lately, the only thing Andy and Brad have in common is that they can’t wait to get to Hawaii on their summer vacation. But when their family vacation plans change abruptly at the last minute, the boys are sent packing to rural Wisconsin, where they’ll be stuck with their offbeat, wacky, free-spirited Aunt Karen and Uncle Jim. And it’s even worse than they expected: their farm’s in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere—with no cable TV or Internet. But when Andy notices Laura, his summer starts looking up; when he scores a date with this cute teenage local celebrity pianist, even Brad’s impressed. Laura’s amazing: besides her killer bowling skills and late-night jam sessions with Bones (whose jazz club is above his funeral home), she’s the smartest, coolest, funniest, little-bit-crazy girl Andy’s ever met.Andy and his brother have some hilarious adventures of their own, even practicing with a minor league baseball club Uncle Jim helps manage, and they encounter some near disasters that change how they view each other, moving their brotherhood to a whole different level. With all that happens, this is a summer readers won’t soon forget.


Note: this book is classified for 9-12 by the publisher, but it is really a Young Adult book.  It is reviewed by us for the age the publisher classifies it as.
The pause rating is mostly for language.  The content is pretty benign for YA, but not a good fit for 9-12 year-olds. A strength of the story is that the character Laura, who is in a wheelchair, is portrayed in a very realistic light. A very nice coming of age story for boys.


Level 1, 2, 3 [?]

Sexual Content

Teen has dream that he’s making out with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Teen tells adult, ‘hook up’ means to have sex.’ Teens kiss.


Andy has run in with teens who are drunk.  A teen commits suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.


Brief fight scene between teen boys. A teen commits suicide.  Another teen says that he’s too chicken to kill himself. To which a girl replies that suicide is the easy way out.


Description of cliques and the food chain at his school. Teen wants to be ‘cool’ and a ‘babe-magnet’. A teen ‘moons’ someone. One of the characters is in a wheelchair and she gives a personal voice to someone who lives with a physical challenge in a very realistic, positive way. The two brothers develop a good relationship over the course of the story.


Use of ‘Oh my God’ as an exclamation.

Note: You can click on the key words or categories to see more info, by author, age or topic.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sam samples March 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

that book was great i was so happy when laura went home with andy to san fran.

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