Gemini Summer by Iain Lawrence

Gemini SummerThe time is 1964 when we meet the River family of Hog’s Hollow. Each of the four Rivers has a dream – Old Man River (the father) dreams of protecting his family and begins building a fallout shelter in the front yard; Flo River (the mother) is writing a novel that she dreams will be as popular as “Gone With the Wind”; Beau (older son) has space fever and dreams that he will be an astronaut, and Danny (younger son) dreams of having a dog.

Danny and Beau are brothers who are also great buddies and they spend their days together working on their fort, riding bikes and sometimes causing mischief. Life is going along well until tragedy strikes the family and Beau has an accident playing on the fallout shelter. His death shatters the River family and their dreams. The fallout shelter is filled in with dirt and covered over with grass; the novel is put away, while Danny silently grieves – until a stray dog comes his way.

Danny’s parents allow him to keep this dog and he names him Rocket. It isn’t too very long before Danny begins to feel that his brother lives within this dog. He feels that Rocket communicates with him just as his brother once did. Unfortunately, Rocket bites the boy who torments Danny and the police come to take the dog away. Danny refuses to believe that Rocket isn’t in some way his brother and he isn’t about to lose him again, so he runs away with Rocket heading to the one destination that Beau always dreamed of – Cape Kennedy.

A magical meeting with Gus Grissom, Beau’s all-time favorite astronaut, helps Danny, as well as his parents, to reconcile some of their feelings about Beau’s death. This is a heartwarming story of brothers, dreams, love and a dog named Rocket.

As an interesting aside, some of the small details in this book are from the author’s own childhood.

Posted by: Wendy

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