"Kouun is 'good luck' in Japanese, and one year my family had none of it." Just when Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan, right before harvest season. But the mortgage has to be paid, and so Summer's grandparents are going to help with harvest instead — taking Summer, her little brother Jaz and their dog Thunder with them.
Obaachan and Jiichan are... well, they're old fashioned, and demanding. Between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her little brother, who can't seem to make any friends, Summer has her hands full.
Then one of the boys who Summer has known forever starts paying extra attention to her. But what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own — and once again Summer ends up disappointing Obaachan. But that's the thing about luck — bad luck can always get worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it and save her family, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Surely kouun is coming soon?
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"Strong family ties suffuse this novel with a tremendous amount of heart. Though Summer's brother has been diagnosed with a number of disorders, she prefers to think of him as simply "intense," and, like most siblings, is alternately protective of and annoyed by his idiosyncrasies. Her grandparents, comically strict Obaachan and kindly Jiichan, bring warmth and humor with their cultural and generational differences. Kadohata expertly captures the uncertainties of the tween years as Summer navigates the balance of childlike concerns with the onset of increasingly grown-up responsibilities." -- Allison Tran, School Library Journal
|Recommended Age||10 - 14|
|Publication Date||Jun 3, 2014|
|Publisher||Atheneum Books for Young Readers|
|Award Winners||National Book Winner, Parents’ Choice Award|