Sand Dollar Summer by Kimberly K. Jones


3.5 Stars

Lise’s world is turned upside down when her mother is seriously injured in a car accident.  Unable to afford their home or return to work, Lise’s mother decides to move the family back to her childhood home in Maine.  Living on the beach for the summer doesn’t seem so bad at first, but the reality that Lise faces is nothing like what she imagines.  Her mother used to be happy, energetic, and fun.  Now Lise feels as if she has become the parent.  Her mother is quiet and withdrawn - often daydreaming about another time and another world that Lise is not a part of.  The beach house is a worn down tiny shack that doesn’t even have a TV, and the crystal blue ocean is actually bone-piercing cold and impossible to swim in, even in the hottest weather.  Lise has left her best friends behind and finds that none of the popular, cool kids her age live anywhere close to where they’re staying. Lise has a hard time accepting her situation but does her best to take care of her little brother, Free (who does not speak) and her injured mother despite her unhappiness.  Just when she begins to feel there is no hope, a stranger enters their lives.  Michael dated her mother in high school and clearly still cares for her.  Will Lise’s mother let him back into their lives - and back into her heart?  Will Lise find the inner happiness she needs to survive her new world? Sand Dollar Summer shows that even in the face of conflict and hardships, family can pull together and emerge happier and stronger than ever before.