It’s the last week of June! How's your summer reading coming along? This month has given us nothing but good books. "Beren and Luthien" by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien, "Dear Cyborgs" by Eugene Lim, "The Answers" by Catherine Lacey and a personal favorite of mine, "The Gypsy Moth Summer" by Julia Fierro.

If you're not a fan of bugs, "The Gypsy Moth Summer" is not for you, or maybe it is, if you're not squimish. However, if you're a fan of Liane Moriarty's "Big Little Lies," you'll find that both books share the same elementts: secrets and scandals, but Ms. Fierro's is coupled with disease and racism. She is a captivating storyteller. She's draws you in and before you know it, you've become invested in the characters and the island they inhabit.



By: Julia Fierro

It is the summer of 1992 and a gypsy moth invasion blankets Avalon Island. Ravenous caterpillars disrupt early summer serenity on Avalon, an islet off the coast of Long Island--dropping onto novels left open on picnic blankets, crawling across the T-shirts of children playing games of tag and capture the flag in the island's leafy woods. The caterpillars become a relentless topic of island conversation and the inescapable soundtrack of the season.

It is also the summer Leslie Day Marshall--only daughter of Avalon's most prominent family--returns with her husband, a botanist, and their children to live in "The Castle," the island's grandest estate. Leslie's husband Jules is African-American, and their children bi-racial, and islanders from both sides of the tracks form fast and dangerous opinions about the new arrivals.

Maddie Pencott LaRosa straddles those tracks: a teen queen with roots in the tony precincts of East Avalon and the crowded working class corner of West Avalon, home to Grudder Aviation factory, the island's bread-and-butter and birthplace of generations of bombers and war machines. Maddie falls in love with Brooks, Leslie's and Jules' son, and that love feels as urgent to Maddie as the questions about the new and deadly cancers showing up across the island. Could Grudder Aviation, the pride of the island--and its patriarch, the Colonel--be to blame?

As the gypsy moths burst from cocoons in flocks that seem to eclipse the sun, Maddie's and Brooks' passion for each other grows and she begins planning a life for them off Avalon Island.

Vivid with young lovers, gangs of anxious outsiders; a plotting aged matriarch and her husband, a demented military patriarch; and a troubled young boy, each seeking his or her own refuge, escape and revenge, The Gypsy Moth Summer is about love, gaps in understanding, and the struggle to connect: within families; among friends; between neighbors and entire generations.


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