The First Magnificent Summer (Hardcover)

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Judy Blume meets Barbara Dee in this tender and empowering middle grade novel told in journal entries and poetry about a young writer on the verge of becoming a woman whose summer with her estranged father doesn’t turn out the way she’d hoped.

Twelve-year-old Victoria Reeves is all set for her “First Magnificent Summer with Dad,” even though it’s been more than two years since she last saw him. She’s ready to impress him with her wit, her maturity, and her smarts—at least until he shows up for the long road trip to Ohio with his new family, The Replacements, in tow.

But that’s not the only unpleasant surprise in store for Victoria. There are some smaller disappointments, like being forced to eat bologna even though it’s her least favorite food in the world. And then there’s having to sleep outside in a tent while The Replacements rest comfortably inside the family RV. But the worst thing Victoria grapples with is when she begins to suspect that part of the reason Dad always treats her as “less than” is for one simple reason: she’s female.

As Victoria captures every moment of her less than magnificent summer in her journal, she discovers that the odds are stacked against her in the contest-no-one-knows-is-a-contest: Not only does her wit begin to crumble around Dad’s multiple shaming jabs, but she gets her first period. And when Dad does the worst thing yet, she realizes she has a decision to make: will she let a man define her?

About the Author

R.L. Toalson hates camping (unless she gets to sleep in a spider-proofed, air-conditioned cabin), though she does enjoy day trips to local parks and daily walks or runs in the wilderness behind her house in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband and six children. Her first middle grade novel, The Colors of the Rain, won the Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor Award in 2018, and her second middle grade novel, The Woods, was named to the International Literacy Association Children’s Choices 2020 reading list. She’s also the author of The First Magnificent Summer. Visit her at

Product Details
ISBN: 9781665925495
ISBN-10: 1665925493
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English