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Bittersweet Summer

Winner of the prestigious Ze`ev Prize for children`s literature, this is a sensitive story of a bittersweet summer in the life of an adolescent girl, set in a 1950s rural settlement. Avigail`s home is joyless, and financial distress adds to the tension between the parents. “If only they would shout at each other and not keep that cold silence,” Avigail thinks to herself. She imagines that her older brother did not die in the war, that her parents walk down the street arm in arm and that they live in a spacious house.

But that summer Avigail savors the sweet taste of young love and finds out that her friends have troubles, too. Yonatan, whose loneliness, love of nature and sensitivity attract the local girls, asks Avigail to be his girlfriend. Avigail tells Yonatan her most closely guarded secrets; he, in turn, describes the wonders of nature and tells her about his mother, who died when he was four. Yonatan remains a mysterious, unfathomable character, however, and towards the end of the book he breaks up with Avigail and befriends the miserable Tania. But when Avigail`s grandmother dies, Yonatan arrives to pay a condolence call. Is there a chance that the love between the two will be rekindled?

Title Bittersweet Summer
Writer's Last Name Keren
Writer's First Name Rivka
Genre Children
Ages 12 up
Illustrations Ora Eitan
Publisher (Hebrew) Schocken
No. Pages pp.