Capturing any lost world with authenticity and precision is a literary challenge, but in our own age of cynicism, bringing to life the naïve hopes and clean-cut promise of baby boom America in a manner that can convince present-day readers is a particularly daunting task. Fortunately, Lisa Howorth’s charming, impeccably detailed Summerlings is a rare gemstone of a novel that proves both emotionally resonant and truly transporting ... The large, distinctive cast of secondary characters prove an ensemble as compelling as any in recent fiction ... Summerlings is a poignant exploration of childhood innocence as grand as the hopes of its delightful and motley cast of characters.
It must be said that, as in Leave It to Beaver, the kids' dialogue in Summerlings can have a scripted quality ... the book entertainingly eviscerates the rose-colored notion of postwar tranquility. Despite its Howdy Doody, Brillo pad and Hostess cupcake references slathered on sunscreen-thick, Summerlings is really about a regrettably timely subject: the nation's enduringly mixed track record when it comes to loving thy neighbor.
Howorth has a gift for crafting memorable characters and an authentic sense of place. She writes with a clear understanding of the catastrophes seeded by intolerance while creating a rich overview of America on the brink of the turbulent 1960s. An engaging coming-of-age story focused on the unraveling of truths hidden just beneath the surface.