Pre-1990 YA: A Summer To Die


Lowry, Lois. (1977). A Summer to Die. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Touchstone Book, YA Literature, Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Grades 6-8

I had never heard of this book before but the title immediately drew me in and made me excited to read it. My first thought was that it was going to be a love story where someone passes away. It reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite books, A Walk to Remember. I liked that the idea of death was introduced in this YA book because it teaches you to be appreciative of others’ differences, especially when there is some jealousy involved. Sometimes jealousy can prevent us from experiencing things and this book brings that to the light. It made me appreciate my family more because you never know what could happen. I think this is a great book for middle school students because it may allow them to be more in touch with their emotions. It’s also an eye opener to respect and enjoy every moment that you have with family and friends. This book also reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars which is another one of my favorite books. Both books include how families are affected by loss of a loved one.

I enjoyed how the characters were described in detail by appearance and likes and interests. The introduction with Meg being jealous of Molly grabbed my attention right away and the big change of them moving somewhere else was also really interesting. I thought the way Meg and Molly changed throughout the story was very realistic and I could envision it like it was a movie. Although it ended up being a sad ending I thought that the lessons that Meg learned in the story are very valuable to readers and reading about a family coping with loss and change is good for younger students. I can see this book being read in a classroom and have the potential to bond the students together because of the lessons and deeper feelings that the book involves.


After reading A Summer to Die, reflect on how Meg and Molly’s relationship changed throughout the story. Why is it important to be understanding and overlook jealousy?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think the author chose to write about this topic for younger readers?
  2. How did this book make you feel?
  3. What did you learn from Meg and Molly’s relationship by the end of the book?



When you have finished reading the book, think about the people in your life who mean the most to you. Write a letter to a family member or friend that you care about and express your feelings similar to those from the book.


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