Paulie Passero, underachiever, high school junior, wants the courage to talk to a girl.
A road trip from Chicago to rural Pennsylvania doesn’t interest him until his father emphasizes the need for a second driver. Why must they go? Paulie’s dying grandmother disowned her son twenty years ago, and fences must be mended. Unprepared for Smalltown USA, Paulie is bored at first but notices a girl in the back of a passing pickup and is immediately enamored.
Guinevere Thompson lives just down the road from Paulie’s grandparents. She wants nothing to do with him. It’s not that she doesn’t like him; she likes him too much to see him beaten up by her three nasty brothers…or worse, her father.
Paulie yearns to help this troubled girl escape the clutches of an abusive father, but will his interference only cause her more harm?
Having enjoyed John Madormo’s ability to write a series of fiction books for junior high school students, I looked forward to his new book about high school life. The Summer of Guinevere has plenty of humor about the problems of being a boy who has no sisters (or any siblings) and wants to understand girls. Madormo’s ability to create Paulie Passero and show the beginnings of growth is remarkable.
At the same time, the book dives into a very serious problem that far too often shows up in families.
The book is a good summer read. But, it’s a novel that can (and should) be read in any season. (Attention: John was a long-time colleague on a campus.) – Roger Smitter