Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Authors
Books
Features
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Written by Dana Reinhardt
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780385739559
  • Our Price: $8.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Summer I Learned to Fly

Buy now from Random House

  • The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Written by Dana Reinhardt
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780385739542
  • Our Price: $15.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Summer I Learned to Fly

Buy now from Random House

  • The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Written by Dana Reinhardt
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375897870
  • Our Price: $7.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Summer I Learned to Fly

Buy now from Random House

  • The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Written by Dana Reinhardt
    Read by Shannon McManus
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780307915764
  • Our Price: $15.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Summer I Learned to Fly

The Summer I Learned to Fly

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

Written by Dana ReinhardtAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Dana Reinhardt



eBook

List Price: $7.99

eBook

On Sale: July 12, 2011
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89787-0
Published by : Wendy Lamb Books RH Childrens Books

Audio Editions

Read by Shannon McManus
On Sale: July 12, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-91576-4
More Info...
Listen to an excerpt
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.


The Summer I Learned to Fly Cover

Bookmark,
Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Email this page - The Summer I Learned to Fly
  • Print this page - The Summer I Learned to Fly
ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE & AWARDS PRAISE & AWARDS
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

The Grand Opening

For some people it's the smell of sunblock. Or pine trees. A burnt marshmallow from the embers of a campfire. Maybe your grandfather's aftershave.

Everyone has that smell. The particular scent that transports you, even if only for an instant, to the long-ago, faraway land of your childhood.

For me, it's the smell of Limburger. Or Camembert. Sometimes Stilton. Take your pick from the stinkiest of cheeses.

My mother's shop was on Euclid Avenue. But believe me, it's not the Euclid Avenue you know now, with thirty-dollar manicures and stores that sell nothing but fancy soap in paisley paper.

Back then Euclid Avenue was the kind of place where a kid like me could find something to spend fifty cents on. And I did, almost every day, at Fireside Liquor. It was the summer of 1986 and I wasn't buying alcohol; I was only thirteen. But fifty cents bought me a Good News: peanuts, caramel, chocolate. The red label declared it Hawaii's Favorite candy bar, an odd claim, but one that made it seem, and even taste, exotic.

I'd never been to Hawaii. I'd never been anywhere to speak of. We didn't have much money, only what we got from Dad's life insurance policy, and what we did have had all gone into the Cheese Shop.

That's what it was called. The Cheese Shop. No stroke of brilliance in the creativity department, but the name said what it needed to say: Come inside and you'll find cheese. Any sort you can imagine.

On the day we opened, Mrs. Mutchnick, who owned the fabric store across the street, a grandmotherly type with her hair barely holding on to its ever-present bun, brought over a gift. It was a most unexpected opening-day gift. Not flowers. Not champagne. And I couldn't possibly have guessed when I unwrapped it (because Mrs. Mutchnick presented it to me) that this gift would come to change my life.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, there was the issue of the health inspection.

There are basic requirements. Things one must do in order to open a store that sells food.

Keep your shop clean. I mean truly clean, not what you try to pass off when your mom looks at your room, with everything shoved in a drawer or under your bed. You must keep your establishment absolutely spotless.

Have running water, hot and cold, and a working restroom.

Your freezer must be a certain temperature, which is different from the temperature you must keep the refrigerated cheese cases, which is different from the temperature you must keep the shop itself.

And generally, things need to smell good, which is easy enough, unless you happen to be in the business of selling stinky cheeses.

This is precisely where we ran into trouble with the inspector.

He'd enter the shop nose first, as if it, and not his pea-sized brain, were in charge of the rest of him. He came around often, too often, in the days leading up to the opening, rapping his clipboard on the shop front window and doing a little wave with his spindly fingers.

His name was Fletcher Melcher. I know it sounds like I'm making that up, but I'm not. And I'm not making up the forest of hair that lived in each of his nostrils either.

We called him Retcher Belcher, about as inspired as calling Mom's store the Cheese Shop, and he almost succeeded in keeping the shop from opening, which seemed to be his very purpose for walking the planet.

The day before we were to sell our first wedge of cheese, the freezer decided to stop working. And who should arrive only moments after we'd realized this? Right. The Belcher.

I'd taken the bus to the shop. Mom had arranged for me to ride a new bus from school, one that took me to the vicinity of the store rather than our small house not far from the beach. Nobody talked to me on this new bus, but that wasn't much of a change from what it was like to ride the old bus.

I was coming from Fireside Liquor, about to open my Good News, and I could see through the storefront window that Mom was in a state.

She was all flailing limbs. Her usually short and spiky hair had taken on that puffy look it got when she ran her fingers through it obsessively. She was yelling at Nick while he stood by and took it calmly, as only someone in possession of two particular qualities could.

One: Nick was unflappable. Some people would attribute this to the proximity of Fireside Liquor. But Nick wasn't a drunk; he was a surfer, just turned nineteen. Mellow to the max.

Two: Even if he knew almost nothing about cheese, Nick could fix practically anything.

The bell jingled as I walked through the front door. A sound that would later come to drive me mad.

"Drew," he said, and he put both of his hands on my shoulders. He fixed his green, sea-glass eyes on mine. "Thank God you're here."

His third outstanding quality: Nick Drummond was impossibly good-looking.

"Get your old lady under control, will you? Take her outside for some fresh air. Or maybe even a smoke." And with that he disappeared into the freezer.

This was Nick's stab at humor. Mom didn't smoke. Except for her love of cheese, she was pretty much a health nut. She did yoga. She meditated. She wore an earthy-smelling perfume, except when she was at work, because Mom believed that nothing should interfere with a customer's right to freely whiff the cheese.

"We're up a creek," she said.

"Chill out, Mom. It's gonna be cool." I'd only known Nick about a month, since we'd started getting the shop ready to open, but I was already perfecting his lingo. Anything to make him notice me.

"No, Drew. It's not gonna be cool. Fletcher Melcher is on his way. Daisy called. He's just asked for his check."

Daisy owned the diner three blocks up. That the Belcher was taking his lunch there could only mean one thing: he was on his way to us. He had it in for Mom and the shop, and every merchant on Euclid Avenue knew it.

"Nick'll take care of it," I told her. "He can do anything."

Mom reached over and stroked my hair. She smiled at me wistfully. "Oh Birdie, you're too sweet."

She walked behind the counter, grabbed an oversize wheel of Jarlsberg, and cut us each a slice. A disconcerting clanging came from inside the walk-in freezer. Mom winced. I pointed to the slice in her hand, then pointed to her mouth. She took a bite.

Jarlsberg: the comfort cheese.



 


From the Hardcover edition.
Dana Reinhardt

About Dana Reinhardt

Dana Reinhardt - The Summer I Learned to Fly

Photo © Chelsea Hadley

A Brief Chapter In My Impossible Life is my first novel.

There’s nothing like the first time something wonderful happens to you, like, for example, when you sit down to write your first novel and it actually gets published.
I guess there’s nothing quite like the first time something just awful happens to you either. Those are moments you aren’t likely to forget.

So by way of introducing myself to you, let me share with you a list of my firsts:

My first love was a boy named Matthew in my pre-school class. He was very funny looking with a huge head of unruly curls, crooked teeth and rather prominent nostrils, but I loved him nonetheless. My best friend married us underneath a tree in the play yard and we used rubber bands as our wedding rings. Years later, when I arrived at college 3,000 miles away from that preschool play yard, I found him again. He had absolutely no idea who I was. That really pissed me off.

My first pet was a dog named Smokey. When he was two, he died after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

My first heartbreak was: see above.

My first earthquake was the big earthquake of 1971, or so I thought until today. I’ve carried around this story all my life about how I was such a sweet and mellow baby that I slept right through the big earthquake of 1971. But just now, when I went on the Internet to get the exact date of the big earthquake of 1971 I learned that it occurred on February 9th. I was born on March 11th. Hmmm….
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone to whom I’ve told that story about sleeping through the earthquake.

My first time crying so hard in a movie that my Dad had to carry me out of the theater was when I saw Pete’s Dragon. I cried on and off for days. It’ s happened since. Well, not the part about having to be carried out of the theater by my father. I’m too big and he’s too old and his back is too weak. But I mean the part about crying for days. (Okay so I’m a big cryer in movies. I even cried in The Nutty Professor.)

And while we’re on the subject of crying, of really, really crying…

My first big cry over a book was Bridge to Terabithia. It made me want to be a writer.

My first big cry over a play was Death of a Salesman. It made me want to be anything but a salesman.

My first time on a moped lasted about 10 seconds. I drove it right into a brick wall and broke my wrist. I was fifteen. That was also my first time on Morphine and I asked the doctor to marry me.

My first concert was The Who’s final tour in 1983. I think they’ve had at least four more final tours since then.

My first job was working as a waitress at a dive where celebrities used to come and eat breakfast in their sweatpants. Eventually, the fact that celebrities came to eat breakfast in their sweatpants caught on, and there would be a line up the block. Pretty soon the celebrities stopped wearing sweatpants to breakfast.

My first husband is Daniel Sokatch. He’s cute. And funny. And really nice. He’ll always be my first husband no matter what, but I’m counting on there not being a second. Or a third…

My first child is my daughter Noa. Sometimes after spending the day with her my face hurts from smiling so much. (My second child is my daughter Zoe and she’s every bit as wonderful as my first.)

My first time writing my own biography for Random House’s “Author Spotlight” was today.

Thanks for reading.
Praise | Awards

Praise

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, May 23, 2011:
"Laced with mystery and fascinating details about Drew's chief interests--rats and cheese--this quiet novel invites readers to share in its heroine's deepest yearnings, changing moods, and difficult realizations. Strong imagery...will stay with readers."


From the Hardcover edition.

Awards

NOMINEE Bank Street Child Study Children's Book Award
WINNER 2011 Kid's Indie Next List "Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers"
NOMINEE 2014 Oklahoma Sequoyah Children's Book Award

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: