My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer
“The subject of same-sex marriages is tastefully handled in a manner preteens can understand and relate to.”
Ms. Gennari hits on a hot topic with her debut chapter book. My Mixed-Up, Berry Blue Summer relates the story of 12-year-old June Farrell. Not only is it difficult being a preteen, but having two mothers embarrasses her and makes her and her family the subject of ridicule.
Living in a small community on Lake Champlain, Vermont, June’s life revolves around the water and her love of baking. June and her mom, MJ, bake cookies and pies to sell at the Stillwater Marina, MJs business.
MJ is ready to enter into a civil ceremony with her lesbian partner, Eva, and it’s apparent several citizens do not approve. Many boycott MJ’s establishment, much to MJ’s and June’s dismay.
June’s friend, Luke is her sounding board, especially after signs stating TAKE BACK VERMONT are posted all over town, protesting MJs and Eva’s relationship.
Luke is not without his own problems. His father is raising him as a single parent since his mother left, which gives him and June a special bond for sharing their feelings. Though their situations are different, they connect over feeling different from all the other “nuclear” families.
June loves her mom. She’s just embarrassed by her mom’s relationship with Eva. She also feels threatened: Will MJ now spend more time with Eva now and not June?
The subject of same-sex marriages is tastefully handled in a manner preteens can understand and relate to. Friendship, perceived differences, tolerance, and remaining true to oneself are subtly imparted messages weaved into the premise of this story. June even includes a recipe for her favorite berry pie.