It is the first day of summer, Hattie's favorite time of the year. Even though her best (and only) friend Betsy will be on vacation the whole time Hattie always looks forward to the freedom summer gives her; time to walk around town, help her father in the art studio, and sip lemonade on their big front porch with the people who live in their boarding house. Hattie is surprised to learn that she has an uncle, Adam, one that she has never met or heard of, who will be moving in with her grandparents. He had been living in a special school for people with problems like him, but no one will talk to Hattie about what that means. She soon becomes friends with her excitable and talkative uncle. He seems to be one of the few people who understands her. Then a carnival comes to town and it seems like this is going to be the best summer ever! Even though Adam can be embarrassing sometimes and even a little scary when he gets in a bad mood, Hattie is very happy to have him around. She wishes that her parents and grandparents would let Adam have more fun, but they seem like they want to hide him away as much as possible. Even though she loves Adam, Hattie can't help but think that maybe there is something wrong with her. Does his illness run in the family? Can she catch it? It is clear that things will never be the same now that Adam is back in town.
This story is set in 1960, in a small town called Millerton. Although the story is heartbreaking at times, you won't be able to help falling in love with the characters and want to know what happens to them. I highly recommend this book, it really helped me think about mental illness in a new way. It is available in print, audiobook, or ebook on Overdrive
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