CM Magazine: Collaborative Book Review Project
Collaborative Book Review Project

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Our current Book review:

Summer of Madness

Marion Crook
Victoria BC., Orca Book Publishers, 188pp, paper

The latest unedited postings from our participating classes.

Summer of Madness by Marion Crook
Review by Julia Machdanz
Grade 7 Niakwa Place School
Winnipeg, Manitoba
January 27, 1996 updated

The main characters were Karen Stewartson, Karen's sort of boyfriend, Kevin, a dirt bike gang and the bank manager, Bryan Tyeson.

The book was about a girl named Karen who had to take care of the ranch they lived on while her mother was away. In the beginning I think she thought she could handle all the responsibilities, but later she found she couldn't.

Karen's emotional problems had to do with her friend Kevin. They had always been friends, but now that they were older Kevin wanted to develop a relationship with Karen. Karen was really mixed up and she couldn't decide whether she was ready or not.

Someone started poisoning their cattle with a poison called Wipe Out, used for deworming. Karen was really upset so she started to build an emotional wall around herself. Her friend Kevin couldn't even get through to her

The poisoning mystery was solved and I think the part after it was finally solved was the most suspenseful and best part.

.Kevin and Karen did finally solve their problems regarding each other.

I really like this book. I think it had a lot of action and excitement. It also had a lot of emotional things that had to be dealt with. I don't think I can name anything that wasn't good about this book.

I think the book is aimed for age groups between 12 and 14.

Summer of Madness by Marion Crook
Review by Mrs. Gerspacher's Class
St. Angela School
Saskatoon, Sask.
February 11,1996 updated

We are really excited to find out who is poisoning the cows and why. During the last few chapters, we were all on the edge of our seats though some times we found that some parts were confusing. We think this book is really well written with some excellent vocabulary. We think that Mr. Foster is paying people to poison all the cows because he wants to take over the land. There are some very exciting parts in this story like when she had to defend herself from Trevor at the competitions. Some parts, we found, moved along very slowly like the first chapter when the author was describing Karen and Kevin and their relationship. Generally we found this book exciting and well written though.

Summer of Madness by Marion Crook
Review by Laura Jones
Grade 7 Arthur Ford School
London, Ontario
January 26, 1996

The book was pretty good even though it had the occasional slow and boring chapters. Even though the book was sometimes boring it was well writen and plotted well.

I felt what Karyen was feeling all through the book. She is about my age so I could really relate to her thinking. I love animals and this book focused on their rights and how much you can love them.

The evil character in this novel was Tyson, a mean man who wants the ranch! He even puts poison on the fields! But in the end he gets what he deserves.

The climax was fantastic! It kept me on the edge until the last page. So my overall report would be that this book was A-Okay!

Review by Martha Worts
February 18, 1996

I didn't find this book very interesting. It was very slow, boring and had no adventure at all. I couldn't read much at a time without getting bored. There was a little bit of suspense, and those parts were pretty good. I found the story just wore on, until about the middle of the book then it was okay. It took me an awful long time to read because I couldn't get hooked on it. It did have a bit of excitement but not much. Someone who likes an emotional book would like this book. Overall I didn't enjoy this book.

Summer of Madness by Marion Crook
Reviews by Grade 6 students from Bethel Academy
Victoria, Newfoundland
February 6, 1996 Updated

Review by Todd Tremblett

I think the story has lots of drama, action, excitement, suspense and adventure. I would recommend this book for people aged 13 to 18 because there are some words in the story that are, I think, offensive to some people. The characters fit the story and the author put them in the right situations. I think you will enjoy reading this book.

Review by Gregory Rowsell

Overall, I think this is a pretty good book. The author uses lots of literary images that bring this book to life. It is very exciting and full of action. The characters are very real. You have to read the book to the very end to see how it ends. The title of the book is suitable because it was for Karen, the main character, a summer of madness.

Review by Amanda Clarke

I liked this book. I liked the action and the characters. If I could have changed the story I would have had Karen fall in love with Trevor. This would have really changed things.

Review by Jennifer Clarke (Grade 6)

I think this book had a lot of action. I was surprised when I found out who was poisoning the cattle. I liked the part where Trevor came to the farm to work. I didn't like the inappropriate use of language in some places. I didn't like how the mother was always gone. I think the mother should have come back sooner. I liked the ending. I just couldn't wait to get to the end of the story.

Summer of Madness
by Marion Crook
Reviewed by Lindsay Foster and Hayley Toane
Grade 6, Gibbons School
Gibbons, AB
January 30, 1996

Marion Crook has a very creative style of writing. Her writing is from the point of view of the main character. It has just the right amount of suspense, action, and romance. It also has a lot of interesting topics and conflicts, like trouble with 4-H, poisoned cows, and emotional stress. The book has a lot of descriptive writing.

The book's main character is 16 year old Karen Stewartson. Someone starts to poison their cows and trespass on private land, and Karen doesn't know what to do. She teams up with Kevin, and together, they try to find the one who is bringing trouble to their farms.

We would recommend this book to anyone who likes farming, and a little suspense. We think this book is terrific and would like to read some of Marion Crook's other books.

Summer of Madness
by Marion Crook
Review by Jessica MacAulay and Melissa Edgett
Grade 7 Caledonia Regional High School
Hillsborough, New Brunswick
January 31, 1996

"Summer of Madness" proved to be as exciting as the title promised. We thought it was an excellent book for our age group, which is twelve and thirteen years.The story was interesting because of the suspense involved. We never would have solved this one on our own.We think most girls would really love this book for all its qualities. Boys, on the other hand, might not be so inspired because of the romance. However, they could certainly learn from this book. The characters were really good because they seemed very real to us. Karen,Kevin, and Trevor, we think, were the best characters. We felt the climax was when Karen went with Trevor to save Goofy, the cow. Our overall impression was SUPER ... we loved it. Girls will be challenged and boys need to read more books like this one. Highly recommended !!!

Summer of Madness
by Marion Crook
Review by Kirk Johnson
Range Lake North School
Yellowknife, NT
February 14, 1996 updated

Type of novel: There are many different emotions in this story so it would be hard to put it into one category. I think that it best fits into the animal and adventure category.

A short summary of the novel:
This story is mainly about a girl named Karen who has to take over her family's household for three weeks while her mother goes away. While her mother is away, Karen finds out that someone had been trespassing on their land and poisoning her cows. So, aside from doing all the household chores she is also on the look out!

Another major problem is that there is a group of bikers hassleing the cows. I dont want to spoil the surprise so I wont tell you the outcome. I will tell you that Karen finds out who was hassleing the cows and who was poisoning them.

Character Sketches:

Karen Stewartson:
Karen is sixteen years old. Karen lives on a cattle ranch in Alberta. She is stuck with all the troubles of her mom because her mom went away for three weeks.

Kevin is six inches taller then Karen a very good friend of hers. They were friends when they were little too. Now that they are older, I think that Kevin wants a little more then a friendly relationship.

Why I Liked or Disliked the Book and a Rating:
I liked this book becuase of its different emotions. There were some boring points in the book though. I think that it is directed for ages 12 to adult. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give Summer of Madness a 8/10.

Summer of Madness
By Marion Crook
Review by Nicole Lalonde
Secondary IV, Baie Comeau High School
Baie Comeau, QC

The book, Summer of Madness, is a good book. I liked the fact that it took place in Canada. The book is about a girl named Karen. She lives on a cattle ranch in Alberta. Her mother has left and that leaves Karen with a lot of responsibilities. To deal with it, Karen builds a wall of self-control and withheld emotions but when someone poisons the cattle, Karen, well, loses it. She can't deal with it without emotion, so she loses her self-control.

This book is mostly about feelings and how Karen deals with them. It's a good book and I'd recommend it to people in Sec. 2 and up, but seeing as it's kind of mushy at places I think that boys might be kind of turned off.

There's only a couple of things that I disliked: I found that the beginning started a little too suddenly and that the plot was a little slow-moving at times, but other than that I have no complaints.

So, if you're looking for a good book to settle down with, I recommend Summer of Madness.

Summer of Madness
By Marion Crook
Review by Lindsey Edmunds
Riverdale Junior Secondary School
Whitehorse, Yukon
April 6, 1996

When I started to read "A Summer of Madness", by Marion Cook, I thought that it was not very interesting! The first one or two chapters were pretty boring and slow moving! The chapters were also too long and there was too much description!! They did not have as much excitement as the chapters in the middle did! The part when Karen and Kevin found out who was poisoning the cattle was so exciting it left me on my seat the whole time!!

I think that if I could change anything about this book, it would be the beginning! It needs to have more action in it. When you read it, it seems weird because you think that the book will be boring because of the beginning, but then it develops into a great climax!

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy slow moving books that build to a climax in the middle. Children who are 12 and up would like this book. I would not recommend this book to children any younger, because some of the language is not appropriate for them. Overall, I think this is a book suited to Junior High students.

Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364