Saturday, October 28, 2023

Summer of a Thousand Pies, by Margaret Dilloway

After Cady's father turns up at her school high on drugs, he ends up in jail and Cady is sent to live with an aunt she's never met.  Cady is sure her father will get out soon and bring her home, even though she knows that he's rarely provided much of a home so far.  Still, Cady is pretty stubborn and when she wants something, she sticks to it!

Aunt Shell runs a pie shop and it's struggling.  Cady doesn't see what the big deal is -- how hard can it be to bake a pie?  But when her first attempt fails spectacularly, she finds she has a lot to learn.  It takes a thousand pies to learn how to make the perfect one, her aunt tells her.  Cady's determined to try.  She's also convinced that if her aunt would only change her business plan, the shop could be successful.  But Aunt Shell is as stubborn as her niece and a test of wills develops between them.

This summer, it will take a lot more than a thousand pies to change Cady and Aunt Shell's world for the better.  It will take trust, a family bond, courage, and an openness to accepting a little help.

A pleasing middle reader without a huge amount of surprises.  Dilloway attempts to add some gravitas by bring in some undocumented workers to start a dialogue about immigration, but it's a half-hearted effort and doesn't add to the story.  Instead, Dilloway's message of opening your heart and being unafraid to take risks has a more lasting message for the reader.

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