Forever This Summer (2021) by Leslie C. Youngblood is a bittersweet and heartwarming middle-grade novel set in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and starring 11-year old Georgie, who is visiting with her Mama and baby sister Peaches to help take care of Mama’s Aunt Vie, who has Alzheimer’s.
Georgie misses her best friend back in Atlanta, Nikki, and is frustrated because she’s stuck at home taking care of Peaches instead of helping at the family’s diner. She has come to terms with her parents’ recent divorce (featured in Youngblood’s 2018 Love Like Sky) but isn’t sure how to react when Aunt Vie doesn’t know who she or her Mama is. Eventually her Mama lets her help out at the diner, where she meets Markie, a foster kid who is just a little older than Georgie, but seems much older. She works at the diner for tips, has a limb difference–one arm is shorter than the other and doesn’t have fingers–and, she knows everyone in town, and also misses Aunt Vie, because she used to stay with her before the Alzheimer’s got worse.
When Markie asks Georgie for help finding her mother, Georgie gets a mission that turns her boring summer around, as long as she can stay out of the trouble that seems to follow Markie.
I loved it. Youngblood steered far clear of any anti-fat bias, and I loved the representation by a main character having a limb difference. I highly recommend for tweens and anyone who likes to read contemporary middle-grade novels.