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The Summer I Learned to Fly

Cover of The Summer I Learned to Fly

The Summer I Learned to Fly

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Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.


From the Hardcover edition.

Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.


From the Hardcover edition.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Listen
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Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.7
  • Lexile:
    750
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Reading Level:
    3 - 6

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    The Grand Opening

    For some people it's the smell of sunblock. Or pine trees. A burnt marshmallow from the embers of a campfire. Maybe your grandfather's aftershave.

    Everyone has that smell. The particular scent that transports you, even if only for an instant, to the long-ago, faraway land of your childhood.

    For me, it's the smell of Limburger. Or Camembert. Sometimes Stilton. Take your pick from the stinkiest of cheeses.

    My mother's shop was on Euclid Avenue. But believe me, it's not the Euclid Avenue you know now, with thirty-dollar manicures and stores that sell nothing but fancy soap in paisley paper.

    Back then Euclid Avenue was the kind of place where a kid like me could find something to spend fifty cents on. And I did, almost every day, at Fireside Liquor. It was the summer of 1986 and I wasn't buying alcohol; I was only thirteen. But fifty cents bought me a Good News: peanuts, caramel, chocolate. The red label declared it Hawaii's Favorite candy bar, an odd claim, but one that made it seem, and even taste, exotic.

    I'd never been to Hawaii. I'd never been anywhere to speak of. We didn't have much money, only what we got from Dad's life insurance policy, and what we did have had all gone into the Cheese Shop.

    That's what it was called. The Cheese Shop. No stroke of brilliance in the creativity department, but the name said what it needed to say: Come inside and you'll find cheese. Any sort you can imagine.

    On the day we opened, Mrs. Mutchnick, who owned the fabric store across the street, a grandmotherly type with her hair barely holding on to its ever-present bun, brought over a gift. It was a most unexpected opening-day gift. Not flowers. Not champagne. And I couldn't possibly have guessed when I unwrapped it (because Mrs. Mutchnick presented it to me) that this gift would come to change my life.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    First, there was the issue of the health inspection.

    There are basic requirements. Things one must do in order to open a store that sells food.

    Keep your shop clean. I mean truly clean, not what you try to pass off when your mom looks at your room, with everything shoved in a drawer or under your bed. You must keep your establishment absolutely spotless.

    Have running water, hot and cold, and a working restroom.

    Your freezer must be a certain temperature, which is different from the temperature you must keep the refrigerated cheese cases, which is different from the temperature you must keep the shop itself.

    And generally, things need to smell good, which is easy enough, unless you happen to be in the business of selling stinky cheeses.

    This is precisely where we ran into trouble with the inspector.

    He'd enter the shop nose first, as if it, and not his pea-sized brain, were in charge of the rest of him. He came around often, too often, in the days leading up to the opening, rapping his clipboard on the shop front window and doing a little wave with his spindly fingers.

    His name was Fletcher Melcher. I know it sounds like I'm making that up, but I'm not. And I'm not making up the forest of hair that lived in each of his nostrils either.

    We called him Retcher Belcher, about as inspired as calling Mom's store the Cheese Shop, and he almost succeeded in keeping the shop from opening, which seemed to be his very purpose for walking the planet.

    The day before we were to sell our first wedge of cheese, the freezer decided to stop working. And who should arrive only moments after we'd realized this? Right. The Belcher.

    I'd taken the bus to the shop. Mom had...

About the Author-
  • Dana Reinhardt is the author of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, Harmless, How to Build a House, and The Things a Brother Knows. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters.
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  • Publisher
    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Summer I Learned to Fly
The Summer I Learned to Fly
Dana Reinhardt
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