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Indian Summer    by Tracy Richardson Amazon.com order for
Indian Summer
by Tracy Richardson
Order:  USA  Can
Luminis, 2010 (2010)
Paperback
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

There are many books on the market today aimed at middle schoolers. This is an age where readers are just starting to discover themselves, and the fiction written for them reflects this. Indian Summer by Tracy Richardson is one such story.

Summer is starting, but Marcie Horton is not sure how she feels about it. Yes, she does get to go to her grandparents' cottage on Lake Pappakeechee, which she always enjoys, but none of her friends are able to come this year. However, another girl in her class, popular Kaitlyn Swyndell, has a mansion down there and has asked Marcie to compete on her family's team in the July 4th Regatta. Marcie is not really sure what she thinks of Kaitlyn, but she looks forward to competing against her older brother. However, things are changing at the lake. Marcie discovers that Mr. Swyndell wants to turn James Woods into a gated community. While many of the others who use Lake Pappakeechee are apathetic to her cause, she is determined to find a way to stop him. Could the Native American ghost she keeps seeing help her?

Indian Summer had a great positive storyline for middle schoolers a preteen girl sticks to her convictions and saves the day. However, Richardson's execution needs polishing. First, the story started slowly with events thrown in that did not seem to matter in the end, especially the fact that Marcie wins a race, as her speed never comes up again. The feeling that she and her younger cousin have of flying does not play at all into the plot. The story is also stilted at the beginning with too much exposition in the form of telling rather than showing. And it's hindered by the third person limited present tense style which did not flow as it should, especially when Marcie's parents were referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Horton.

Once the story picks up, it does get better. Some seemingly incidental parts prove integral to the overall picture and it is fun piecing these together. However, the extraneous parts cause the reader to get off track, and they do not seem meant as red herrings. Marcie's convictions and her realizations are what Indian Summer is all about. On that end, it is a decent story. With a little more refining, Tracy Richardson could prove to be a popular middle grade author.

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