The Year the Swallows Came Early

Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 5R4.840790

Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson loves cooking and plans to go to culinary school just as soon as she's old enough. But even Groovy's thoughtfully—planned menus won't fix the things that start to go wrong the year she turns eleven—suddenly, her father is in jail, her best friend's long-absent mother reappears, and the swallows that make their annual migration to her hometown arrive surprisingly early. As Groovy begins to expect the unexpected, she learns about the importance of forgiveness, understands the complex stories of the people around her, and realizes that even an earthquake can't get in the way of a family that needs to come together.

Kathryn Fitzmaurice's lovely debut novel is distinctively Californian in its flavor. Her rich characters and strong sense of place feel both familiar and fresh at first meeting—and worth revisiting, again and again.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published on February 3, 2009 by HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 0061624977
ISBN-13: 9780061624971
1 Book Review
  • thesocialruby
    thesocialrubyover 5 years55 stars
    The book gave an understanding of everyone's side, even though it was all from Eleanor's point of view. Why her father acted the way he did, it's the reader's decision to side with being angry at him or to side with understanding him. It's also the reader's decision on whether they should agree with any of the events that occur in the story. It's a great book for people who have a liking for culinary arts. The author writes eloquently throughout the book's progression and it gives the book a slow, detailed feel. The book made complete sense to me, how Eleanor (who was once known as "Groovy") felt when her father acted the way he did, or when she found out what her mother did to her father. The book was enticing and beautifully crafted.

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