Cover Image: Mockingbird Summer

Mockingbird Summer

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Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge

Texas ~ 1964 ~ Teenagers ~ Historical Fiction ~ Civil Rights Era ~ Coming of Age ~ Friends ~ Softball ~ Small Town Prejudice ~ Siblings ~ Drugstore Lunch Counters ~ To Kill a Mockingbird Vibes ~ Recommended

I highly recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book was released 30 Jan 2024.

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I requested Mockingbird Summer as background reading for a discussion we hosted on BookBrowse. To be honest, I was disappointed in it -- the narrator's voice came across as weirdly juvenile and in our discussion some participants noted that they thought that it was a YA book - which was not due to the protagonists but because of the voice. With that said, most of the participants enjoyed the book:
https://www.bookbrowse.com/booktalk/messages.cfm?threadid=49A1BE64-DDB9-B4B4-DE6DB0A2E506F4C4

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Lynne Rutledge has again succeeded in telling a great human story. I love her character development and her storytelling. Small towns are quite different than larger cities. Everyone knows everyone. There is no hiding behind big city anonymity. I liked the characters, their dreams and insecurities. A very engaging story.

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What a great story told from the point of view of a thirteen year old Texan girl coping with segregation, making her first black friend and realizing how her small town world was functioning in a dysfunctional manner. From racism, sexism, and bigotry, this girl has many questions starting from her reading of To Kill A Mocking Bird and from the behavior of the adults in her town towards an exceptional young black athlete. The wrap up ending was so satisfying.

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A powerful novel that takes place in 1960 that deals with so many issues. This book will have you on the edge of your seat. This book explores the friendship between a black and white girl in a small Texas town. Each of the characters will quickly become your friends. A definite must read for summer.

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this novel.

I enjoyed WEST WITH GIRAFFES and was looking forward to another by Lynda Rutledge. This book did not disappoint. I loved this 1960's historical fiction. It was a story with heart and hope, and I can't wait for others to read it.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy of Mockingbird Summer by Lynda Rutledge in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved this book. Mockingbird Summer, which is part a retelling of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird (with plenty of Easter eggs for us to find) and partly a smart new work informed by it, takes place in the summer of 1964 in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas where segregation is being challenged at the lunch counter and on the softball field. 13-year-old protagonist Corky Corcoran, reminding us of Scout, is both younger than her age and unwilling to stop asking questions about the status quo. Corky befriends America, the Black 16-year-old daughter of her mother’s new housekeeper. When Corky and her brother discover that America can run as fast as Olympian Wilma Rudolph, events are set in motion that will have lasting, life-altering consequences for the town, America, Corky’s family and Corky herself. Lyrically written and with themes that include racism, sexism, religion and more, Mockingbird Summer is bound to become an instant classic. Kudos to Lynda Rutledge on this gorgeous follow-up to West With Giraffes. Five enthusiastic stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Mockingbird Summer was a slice of life historical novel about one young girl's awakening to the racism in her small town. At times, I was frustrated by how little Corky seemed to understand of what was going on around her, but I had to remind myself that she was 13 and she grew up in a different era and place. I liked the way that the library and To Kill a Mockingbird inspired Corky to begin to see things differently than she had before. I liked the fledgling friendship between Corky and America and wish we could have seen more of it. I loved that Corky made mistakes in that relationship because it felt more authentic. The ending was disappointing but overall, I liked the novel.

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It was a pleasure having the opportunity to read this book, loved it. I’m not really uses to read historical fiction ,but I consider this book a good start to get into reading more this genre.

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This is a wonderful historical fiction novel set in 1960s Texas. Coming of age story during major cultural changes, this book reads a bit YA but that doesn’t detract from it at all.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. What a wonderful coming of age story set in the summer of 1964, High cotton Texas. Corky questioned everything and everyone. Her dad owned the local pharmacy and soda shop. Her mom was a housewife who wanted more. Her brother Mack who was home for the summer. Her dad hired help for her mom (who did not want help)- Evagaline whom sometimes brought her daughter America who was a couple years older than Corky. America could run super fast and after seeing this both Mack and Corky wanted her to play the local softball game between churches. This was all in the midst of the world changing, segregation being pushed against, the town was not ready for change- but it happened anyways!! Great book, definitely recommend!!

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In High Cotton, Texas,1964 Black and white people don't usually play sports together. Teenager Corky wants to change that just for one night so her church softball team can win a game. Inspired by the book To Kill A Mockingbird, she attempts to achieve racial unity by way of athletics, only to find out it is not as simple as she thinks.

This novel is a fun coming -of-age-story.

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What I liked: A small Texas town navigating racial disparity during the summer of 1964.

What I disliked: The author’s tone feels as though she is talking down to the reader, excessively explaining all details of mid 1960’s culture. I didn’t find this book to be on par with her earlier book, West With Giraffes.

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Set on the eve of massive cultural shifts, Mockingbird Summer explores the impact of great books, the burden of potential, and the power of friendship with humor, poignancy, and exhilarating hope.

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This is a coming of age story that explores many of the changes in the 1960s. I love the depiction of the small town during the summer. This is a perfect story for all ages and could be a good entry point to discuss necessary topics with younger readers.

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Amazing book!
I was thoroughly engaged throughout this book and I didn't want to put it down! The author captured my attention from the get go! Five stars from me :)

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I loved this coming of age story. Two young girls, one white and one black in Texas in 1964. It explores interracial friendships in the midst of the racial divide in America and also in their small town of High Cotton, Texas. Wonderful story, by the author of West with Giraffes!

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I laughed, I cried. The book started out feeling like an updated version of To Kill A Mockingbird, but about halfway it really started to shine under its’ own merit. Read it!

I loved the relationship that developed between the two girls, the strength exhibited by mom, the nickname “Bug”, and learning a bit more about what change was like in that era.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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"Mockingbird Summer" by Lynda Rutledge delves into the complex dynamics of race, friendship, and societal changes in 1964 High Cotton, Texas. Thirteen-year-old Corky Corcoran's last summer of childhood takes an unexpected turn when her family hires a Haitian housekeeper, bringing along her daughter, America. The narrative beautifully captures the racial divide of the time, with Corky and America's friendship challenging societal norms.

I rated "Mockingbird Summer" 3 stars because Rutledge skillfully weaves themes of friendship and societal change against the backdrop of significant cultural shifts. The connection to "To Kill a Mockingbird" adds depth to the narrative. While the story tackles important issues, pacing and execution at times feel uneven. Nevertheless, "Mockingbird Summer" provides a poignant exploration of friendship, cultural shifts, and the transformative power of literature during a pivotal period in American history.

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Kathryn “Corky” Corcoran lives in a town called High Cotton, in Texas and she’s thirteen. Corky loves to read and the town's librarian gives her a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and some parts she doesn’t understand and no one's willing to explain it to her.

Corky gets rather annoyed by everyone’s attitude, she does ask a lot of questions and how is she going to learn about things by staying silent. Her dad owns the drugstore in town, he worries about his wife's health and he employs a Haitian housekeeper and she brings along her sixteen year old daughter American and Corky finds her fascinating.

Corky lends her the copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, she’s rather shocked when America’s reaction is very different to her own, it's been thirty years since it was written and not much has changed, High Cotton is a segregated town, the white population lives on the North-side of the train line and the coloured folk live on the South-side.

Corky discovers America can run fast as the Olympian athlete Wilma Rudolph, she asks her to play in the annual church softball game, The Baptist girls verses the Methodist girls and she has no idea she’s about to create trouble and mayhem, not everyone in High Cotton wants a coloured teenager playing baseball, Corky is rather naive and especially about racism and people’s attitude towards people of colour.

I received a copy of Mockingbird Summer by Lynda Rutledge from Lake Union Publishing and in exchange for an honest review. The story explores the main characters thoughts and feelings and I would class it as young adult novel and teenagers could relate to this book and learn a lot from reading it.

Corky is a chatty whirlwind and a tomboy, other characters influenced the narrative and added more emotion to the story, like her mother Belle and father Cal j, brother Mack, America, Reverend Pete and Roy Rogers the dog. Three and a half stars from me and a tale about a young girl growing up, trying to make sense of what's happening around her, striving to be a better person and during a difficult time.

The 1960’s the United States was poised on the eve of change, customs and their way of life, segregation and racism, the Civil Rights Movement and of course the Vietnam War were all about to start.

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