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The Summer We Fell Apart

by Robin Antalek


What is a family?† Is it, as the dictionary states, "parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not?"† Or is it something else? Something more?† Something that reaches out to you when you least expect it?† Robin Antalekís novel The Summer We Fell Apart tells the story of the Haas family, a complicated collection of brothers and sisters, thinly held together by†self-absorbed parents.† When their father dies, Amy, George, Finn and Kate Haas must come together to deal with his death, and with each other.† With this family, thatís easier said than done.††As we see the characters work their way through their fatherís death, itís so obvious that the Haas family has been falling apart for years.† They are painfully unsure of how to relate to each other and sometimes to life itself.

Antalek allows her characters to tell their stories in their own voices and in their own way.† And, wonderfully, each story and each voice is unique and individual.† I felt that I knew each of the brothers and sisters by the end of the book.† I found myself crossing my fingers for each, wanting them to find what they had been yearning for their whole lives.† Of course, as in life, not every story, not every person has that happy ending. But for some, miraculously, happiness happens.

I loved these characters and this book. †This family gets under your skin; they make you laugh and cry and sigh in frustration until finally . . .† youíre hooked! ††No matter how many layers we peel away, no matter how painful the stories, Amy, George, Finn and Kate Haas are unforgettable.† They will haunt you just a little bit and will surely stay with you long after the last page is turned.

The Book

January 2010
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The Reviewer

Elaine Broome
Reviewed 2010
© 2010