July Teen Book of the Month – The Summer of Bitter and Sweet

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet

Grades 10+

360 pages

Before she can escape to the University of Alberta to play competitive water polo and chase her lifelong dream of studying paleontology, Lou faces one last summer in her small town amid the prairies of Canada.

One last summer with her flighty best friend, Florence, who’s about to take off for a year-long trip around the world. One last summer with her showy boyfriend, Wyatt—whose kisses have never made Lou feel anything but uncomfortable. One last summer helping her uncles Dom and Maurice with their seasonal, all-organic, all-local family ice cream shop, the Michif Creamery.

But already, things are changing around Lou. Her mother is away, having taken her traditional Métis beading business on the road. Back from Toronto for the summer is King, the best friend Lou drove away years ago with her lies. And, like a rotten cherry on top of the whole mess, Lou suddenly receives a letter from her biological father—a man Lou never wanted to meet, a man she thought would remain behind bars for the rest of his life.

If the Creamery falls under, Lou won’t be able to afford her tuition. This is her last chance to mend things with King. And under no circumstances can she allow her family—especially her mother—to learn that her birth father is out of prison. Everything hangs in the balance. Everything depends on Lou’s web of careful lies, half-truths, and omissions. On anger, betrayal, and close-guarded secrets.

But maybe forgiveness lies just around the corner from honesty and trust. Maybe Lou will find that she need not struggle alone in silence.

After all, even in the bitterest flavors can sweetness sometimes be found.

This story covers some heavy topics, including anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, racially- and sexually-charged violence, and discussion of sexual assault. Please read the author’s content warning at the beginning of the book.

Check out other Teen Picks of the Month!

Teens Read Pick of the Month


Every month the SCCLD Teen Librarians choose one book as a great read from the library's Teen collection. This is the list of the latest picks of the month.

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