Monday, August 6, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Seaglass Summer

Today’s pick: Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee

Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, 2010

Publisher’s Description:
Eleven-year-old Poppy Ray longs to be a veterinarian, but she's never had a pet. This summer, she's going to spend a month with her uncle Sanjay, veterinarian and owner of the Furry Friends Animal Clinic on an island off the Washington coast.

Poppy is in for big surprises. She loves tending to the dogs, cats, and even a bird, and she discovers the fun of newborn puppies and the satisfaction of doing a good job. But she learns that there's more to caring for animals than the stethoscope and cotton swabs in her Deluxe Veterinarian First-Aid Kit. She's not prepared for quirky pet owners, gross stuff, or scary emergencies. With help from a boy named Hawk, a chunk of seaglass, and a touch of intuition, Poppy gains a deeper understanding of the pain and joy of working with animals.

With warmth and humor, Anjali Banerjee tells the story of a resourceful, determined girl who can't wait to grow up, but begins to realize just how much she has left to discover.

My take:
When I found out this book was about an 11-year-old girl who was so serious about becoming a veterinarian that she bought her own vet tool kit, I got hooked on this story. I liked the way the author let Poppy experience the real life circumstances of a hanging out in her uncle’s vet office, without making it seem easy or cute. Poppy’s character is complex, with issues related to her cultural background and family, as well as finding out that her dream might not be as easy as she thinks, but it all fit into the story as part of her life in a natural way.  Poppy was determined to succeed despite the setbacks and it made for a good story once it got going.

As a writer, I admired the way the author created a realistic and complex main character without being too heavily focused on the clash of cultures. I loved the way Poppy didn’t give up, even when faced with challenges, and that determination in her character kept me reading until the end of the story.

How I discovered this book:
While browsing in the library, the title caught my eye. The author’s name sounded familiar and later I realized I’d read one of books for adults.

Other info:
Anjali Banerjee was born in Kolkata, India and grew up in Manitoba and California. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

She wrote her first story at the age of 7, about an abandoned puppy on a beach in Bengal.
She also writes books for adults. Enchanting Lily is due to be released August 7, 2012. Her other adult novels include: Haunting Jasmine, Invisible Lives, and Imaginary Men.

In an interview at ParkingLotConfessional, she talks about the difficulties of getting published:"The odds against getting published are daunting, but I still believe that if you have a *passion* for writing and developing your authentic voice, you will find an audience."

 For more about the author, visit Anjali Banerjee’s website.

Other books by this author include:
Looking for Bapu, 2008
Maya Running, 2006
The Silver Spell, (Dungeons and Dragons: Knights of the Silver Dragon #8), 2005
Rani and the Fashion Divas, (Star Sisterz #4), 2004

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!


  1. Sounds like a good read, especially for summer. Thanks for sharing about it. And I love finding books at the library, though I don't get there as much since I started blogging.

  2. I HAVE to get this for my daughter. Not only is her name Anja. She wants to be a vet and we don't have any pets, much to her frustration.

  3. Thanks for the lovely review. :-)

  4. I hadn't heard of this one but it sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I loved the title as soon as I saw it! This sounds like a great book for kids. I think it is perfect that the author gave a more realistic view of being a vet. Your review made me want to check this one out- as I am a big animal lover myself and have worked with animals, in different roles, for years.

  6. I love that it is set in Washington, and that there is a multicultural background. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  7. I thought I was going to be a veterinarian, too. And then I ended up a product designer. And now I write novels. Who knew?

  8. This sounds like a great MG. I hadn't heard of it, thanks for sharing!

  9. Ah Manitoba...where I got my first pair of platform shoes {in Brandon}. I was also, at the time, that 11 almost twelve year old with animal aspirations...bats in particular. So the kid reader in me wants to get this one as does the adult who thinks this sounds like a great book club book! Thanks for sharing it!


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