Recommended for ages 10-14
Roberta is an 11 year-old girl living in rural Maine. She’s a straight-A student who’s locked in neverending academic combat with Henry Horton Harris Helmsby, who always manages to take the top prize at the science fair. She and her best friend Marilee plan to spend the summer hanging out together and talking about their crushes, when UFO sightings crop up in the area. She researches the Allagash alien abductions of 1976 – practically in her backyard – and decides that she wants to document the experience of her own alien abduction – with poor Marilee along for the ride – for an award-winning science project! She has to figure out how to contact that aliens, but just leave that to her.
The Summer Experiment is a book that has all the “lazy summer story” details – two best friends, an antagonist older brother, a loving family, with a pinch of drama – that also happens to include UFO sightings. It’s an interesting twist that readers may get a kick out of, and hopefully be spurred to read up more on the real-life Allagash alien abduction stories (the book includes resources for further reading). There is a positive female role model – Roberta – and a few realistic family crises that keep the book with one foot in reality, one in fantasy. This would provide an interesting summer reading program that could include a viewing of another real-life alien abduction story turned movie, Fire in the Sky, with a discussion afterwards.
The author’s webpage offers information about the author and her books, tour dates, and contact information.