Reviewed by Marta Morrison for TeensReadToo.com
THE GREAT AND AWFUL SUMMER by Mitzi Dale is a quick and interesting read.
The narrator of the story is Sarah Leanne Lockwood and she is fourteen. She decides to get a summer job at CC Lodge in Canada. There she will take care of the visitors' children and do kitchen work.
The owners of the lodge are Cathy and Cliff. Cathy is wonderful and Sarah likes her, but Cliff is a very angry man and is kind of crazy. They have a daughter named Cate who is brooding and disappears for hours at a time. There Sarah meets Ellen, who is also working at the lodge.
Now, Sarah and her mother watch a soap opera on TV called Willow Heights. They mainly watch it because of the character of Ellis Bell, who is a dreamboat. At the first bonfire, Sarah finds out that Ellis Bell and his wife own an island very close to the lodge. Of course, Ellis Bell is actually Edgar Linton. Through eavesdropping and the asking of questions, Sarah stumbles onto a mystery surrounding all of these characters. One that helps her to grow up to be a more thoughtful and considerate person.
Sarah is very believable and the guilt that she takes on, if not in excess, is very normal for a teen who is raised to be aware of other people's feelings. I also enjoyed all of the references to WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I think one would especially like this book if they had read WUTHERING HEIGHTS or will be reading that book for class. I also enjoyed Mitzi Dale's writing. Her characters were believable and I felt that I have known someone just like some of them. I would love to read more from her.