The Nine Lives of Summer

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Pub Date 01 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2023

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The Nine Lives of Summer is a heart-warming tale ideal for both children and adult cat lovers of all ages.

It is the purr-fect book for fans of A Street Cat Named Bob and A Cat Called Dog, (by the same author) as well as stories about refugees such as The Boy at the Back of the Class.

“A heart-warming tale with a life-affirming message.”

“Often funny, sometimes sad, always full of hope.”

One cat, nine lives and a quest to find a way home

Summer is a cat living happily with ten-year-old girl Sami and her family in Syria. Then the war comes.

Sami and her parents are forced to make the heart-wrenching decision to flee as refugees, leaving Summer behind.

On her journey through nine lives in a dozen countries, Summer discovers her purpose – to find Sami again.

The quest leads Summer all over the world, meeting diverse people from a vast array of cultures and backgrounds, through exciting adventures and heartbreak, desperate struggle and survival. But she never ever gives up hoping and searching.

Will Summer ever find Sami, and be reunited with her family in her furever home once again?

The Nine Lives of Summer is a heart-warming tale ideal for both children and adult cat lovers of all ages.

It is the purr-fect book for fans of A Street Cat Named Bob and A Cat Called Dog, (by the...

Advance Praise

"This is the happiest, saddest, tearjerker of a book. As a cat person I love stories about cats especially when a happy ending is included."

"This is the happiest, saddest, tearjerker of a book. As a cat person I love stories about cats especially when a happy ending is included."

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Interview with TALK RADIO EUROPE (Spain) Bookshow.

Interview with THAT'S TV SOUTH WALES

Review/ads in YOUR CAT magazine

Ad in THE CAT magazine

Available Editions

ISBN 9781399944328
PRICE £3.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 17 members

Featured Reviews

This is the happiest, saddest, tearjerker of a book. As a cat person I love stories about cats especially when a happy ending is included.

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Princess Fuzzypants here: Summer and Sami are so happy together until the war in Syria splits them apart. Summer makes a pledge that she will find Sami again and throughout all of her nine lives, no matter what form, no matter whether it is long or short, happy or tragic, her quest is to find the little girl she loved so well in her first life.

Each time Summer dies, when she is reborn, she remembers who she was in the beginning. Helping her with her quest is the ghost of a family member who died in the bombing during the war. Each journey takes Summer to some place new around the globe. She meets good people and bad people and often runs into a friend she made in that first life, Honey.

It is not until her ninth and final life that she is reunited with Sami. But will Sami recognize the cat who is so different to the kitty she once was. Will love find a way? In a heart wrenching tale of trials and tribulations, the reader knows that somehow Summer will make Sami understand. It is a moving reunion as are many of the stories throughout Summer’s nine lives. Be prepared to care a lot about this little cat. Be prepared to be touched deeply.

Five purrs and two paws up.

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This was an interesting read. The cat is different in each life. The author must have a cat. The things they do are true and he's a pretty kitty.
Two Fat Cats Publishing and Net Galley let me read this book. It has been published and you can get a copy now.

It's fun to read about his colors changing and how he's female most of the time.

Life is an adventure for a cat. You never know what he is going to do or who he is going to meet.

I enjoyed reading this but I'm a cat lover....

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Thank you to Net Galley for this wonderful copy of The Nine Lives of Summer by Jen Vanston in exchange for a honest review.This heart- warming feel good book tells the story of Summer and her human mistress Sami who has to leave her behind when her family flees Syria after her brother Shaheen is killed in a bombing attack..Throughout time and nine lives Summer vows to find Sami again while having many adventures along the way.A great book for cat lovers of late elementary school(5-6th grade) age and above..Definitely a tear jerker.

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Summer is a beautiful calico cat living with her owner 10-year-old Sami and her family in Syria. Things are going at a well-established pace until the war breaks out in Syria. The family must flee leaving Summer behind. Sami and Summer are determined to meet up again at some point.
Summer goes through nine cat lives as she is in different countries in her multiple lives. The author does a wonderful job of adding the correct cultural foods, languages, and descriptions of each area. From the frozen tundra to the hottest jungle, the fish wharf and more. Summer's life is a struggle for survival in this emotional story. As a lover of cat stories, I enjoyed this one very much especially reading about the many lives the cat lived. It reeled me in, and I read it in an afternoon. Prepare yourself to be emotionally invested in the adventures and survival of Summer and her friends. Recommended!

Pub Date 01 Mar 2023
I was given a complimentary copy of this book.
All opinions expressed are my own.

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I cried bucket reading this heart wreniching story that talks about a war, a cat and the path to find her human again.
There's a lot of tears but there's also hope. A perfect book for cat lovers.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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I pretty much ugly cried through the entire book. There's a lot to unpack here as Summer searches for Sami and I don't think I really went into this expecting just how deep this was going to go. I really liked "A Street Cat Named Bob", so this was right up my alley from start to finish. The Nine Lives of Summer would fit in very well in our classroom.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.

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Pretty fun overall. This has it's sad moments, but that is part of what made it a good read. Wasn't sure what to expect here, but I enjoy it.

I really appreciate the free copy for review!!

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The Nine Lives of Summer follows a cat as they transition through their nine lives, trying to find their way back to their first human. The lives take place all over the world in different countries, and explore what life may be like for a cat living there.

As a cat lover and someone who enjoys animal memoirs, I adored this book. Though I was always sad when another of Summer's lives ended, I looked forward to reading about where the next life would take place. Throughout this book I laughed and cried, and shared in the joy of each of Summer's humans. This would be a great book to read for any age.

Thank you to NetGalley and Two Fat Cats Publishing for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I love animals, especially cats. I've been fortunate to share much of my life with these furry, funny, fabulous creatures so I was excited to read The Nine Lives of Summer by Jem Vanston, but my heart was not ready to face the heartache contained within these pages, and yet I'm happy I read the book for it's wondrous tale of a love that transcends lifetimes.

Vanston's depictions of war-torn Syria are gut-wrenching, as are the trials faced by Summer (the cat) and her family. The emotional parting between Summer and her beloved Sami struck a deep chord within me because I've had to make the hard decision to leave a beloved furbaby behind in order to move to a new place. (Granted, I wasn't in a war-torn area and was eventually reunited with my furry companion because I was able to leave him with family, but it still dredged up some painful memories.) However, Sami leaving Summer behind is only the beginning of the emotional rollercoaster ride Vanston has created.

Through years and multiple lives, Summer is always looking to be reunited with Sami. Some of the lives are long and comfortable. Some are short and filled with struggle. All of these combine to create an incredible journey that is both life-affirming and guaranteed to hit you right in the feels...hard. At times poignant, humorous, sad, and harrowing, the end result is a tale that makes me hug my own kitties a little tighter in appreciation for their companionship and endless love.

Overall, The Nine Lives of Summer is perfect for anyone who likes animal stories, but be warned--this book will make you ugly-cry. Also, it may not be suitable for young kids as it does contain a couple of graphic scenes as told from a cat's point of view.

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This is the kind of book that breaks your heart to pieces, then puts it back together only to smash it apart once again, in the most beautiful way.
The Nine Lives of Summer is the perfect book for all cat-lovers. The story follows the life of Summer, a sweet little cat who belongs to a sweet little girl named Sami, who is living in Syria at the beginning of a war.
Summer and Sami are separated and Summer works through her nine lives to try to reunite with her once again.
Not only is this book from a lovely cat's point of view, but it also brings to life the reality that domesticated animals face around the globe, and the place they hold in society and in our lives.
As one cat lover to another, I recommend you read this book and also enjoy the headbonks from your furry little companions.

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If you like cats, this one is for you. I have a dog, so I may not be the best audience, but this is a fun and emotional story for cat lovers and others.

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I was really excited to read this book as a big cat lover. I’ve enjoyed so many cat themed books over the years for all ages. This book is aimed at middle grade school children and adults also. I did not like the book at all unfortunately and it was nothing like the blurb at all. This isn’t like A Streetcat Called Bob which it’s likened to. Quite the opposite.

If you are triggered by death or animal suffering this isn’t for you. I’ve not included exact sections for the book as it may even be upsetting in this review. So I have kept it general. I’ve also only included a few of Summer’s endings.

The book follows a cat called Summer who is “reincarnated” over 8 lives (as a cat has nine lives). The positive element is that she is in a different country each time, a chance for young people to learn a bit about other countries and culture. However, each death that Summer has is very dark and could be distressing for some children and adults. Some people are really sensitive, especially around what happens to animals.

I read and have written horror, I love dark crime and true crime so the themes of death don’t concern me in my reading material but the ways the cat dies are quite horrific and graphic. I didn’t see the need for that. It spoiled what could of been a lovely concept. Summer dies in the war zone of Syria and that’s the starting point. A cat shelter is bombed so it’s not just Summer who suffers, Summer is owned by a family and sadly the boy is described in the book as dying by a bomb, again, that is a dark thing in a children’s book. Whilst war is very real I think it’s up to parents and their adults to know when the right time is to talk to kids about things like the war in Syria and some children may not cope with that at all. We have many kids exposed to the reality of war already (imagine a child who left Ukraine after shelling in their home town for example).

Descriptions of seal hunters (just why include that?) and a drowning in icy waters in Greenland follows, Summer’s owner drowns also. There is no need for it and to be honest I’m baffled as to why its done this way. It really spoilt the preceding elements of that chapter. We have not only distress of a cat to process but also the horrible act of seal hunting. Definitely not enjoyable reading.

In Australia she’s lost in a raging, burning bushfire. Not a pleasant way to die. Not even for humans and of course lives of humans and animals by fire does occur, sadly we have so many wildfires in the world but it doesn’t need to feature in a children’s book in my opinion. I’ve read some fantastic cat themed books and store of books which are fantastic and will stand the test of time and appeal to generations of kids.

But the part that shocked me the most and I found incredibly disturbing was a life she has in Japan. Many cats are living free and happy lives on a cat island, it turns very dark when cat poachers capture lots of cats and there is a descriptive scene of many cats crammed live in a big cage. If you don’t know what they do to cats and dogs in parts of Asia then I’d rather you didn’t. It’s barbaric and sickening. It also still happens. I’d not want to be reading that to my child it having them reading it to be left with those images and asking questions.

I recommend reading this book as an adult first and make your own. judgement call on the content and its suitability for you own child or students or for storytelling sessions. I do not think it’s at all suitable with it’s graphic endings of Summer over and over. It sadly swamps the other nice bits. Some may like the book and it’s my own personal view and my own experience in reading many books aimed at young people with animal themes that has me writing this review.

The book may upset and traumatise some readers. It did me and like I’ve said and those that know me, my book genres I love can be very dark and many wouldn’t want to read them.. I do know even a snippet of animal distress in even adult novels have had readers put the book down. I’ve seen that in many reviews and in discussion with readers and reviewers over years. It’s not a popular element.

Sadly it wasn’t necessary to have it be so dark. Not bedtime reading. I’d not want my child pondering or thinking of the deaths of Summer in such awful circumstances. Even questions raised will lead to complex conversations and how can you answer questions like what do they do in Asia when the capture many cats and cram them into a cage? Children don’t need to know that even happens. Many adults can’t even stomach that imagery.

I found the writing quite amateurish and some things didn’t hold true. For example, when Summer is in Syria in her first life it’s told that the family have no fresh food, very little food, no vegetables even but Summer is given a treat of lots of fresh chicken a little bit later, If there is little food, not even vegetables for humans there is also no fresh chicken in this war zone. Just things like that.

So, I recommend highly that the book is read first by an adult, even if you just read the deaths at the end of each chapter. Then make your own judgement on suitability for younger readers. I can’t imagine bedtime stories with that through it being pleasant. It’s a big shame as the concept without the graphic deaths that are each extremely dark would of made it a totally different book. The deaths overpower all the good in my opinion. Not necessary and I’m baffled to their inclusion. But it’s an Authors creative right to tell a story how they will. It’s also a readers and reviewers
right to their views.

As always, my review is my own opinion and perspective and others may very well like the book. I didn’t. The book was obtained via NetGalley for public review.

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This is a lovely cat story! I love books about cats. This is a wonderful story and the ending made me so happy and made me cry. I can be very short about this: any pet lover would enjoy this story and feel a lot of emotions!! Well done author! :)

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