Tuesday, May 14, 2013

7 Heart Review: Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick

Remember Dippy
Shirley Reva Vernick

Page Count: 162

Release Date: 14 May 2013 (first edition)
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review for the Books Complete Me virtual book tour (thank you!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Johnny's plans fly out the window when he finds out his single mother is leaving town for the summer. She has a breakthough job in upstate New York. He can live with his Aunt Collette but only on the condition that he "help out with" his autistic older cousin, Remember. Yup, you heard it right: Remember Dippy.

That's his cousin's name—and Remember is a gawky awkward kid with some pretty strange habits, like repeating back almost everything Johnny says and spending hours glued to the weather channel. Johnny's premonitions of disaster appear at first to come to cringeworthy fruition, but when the two boys save a bully from drowning, salvage the pizzeria guy's romance, and share girl troubles, Johnny ends up having the summer of his life.

Review


Remember Dippy is a cute, middle grade/young adult coming-of-age novel about the lovable and smart-alecky Johnny whose mother plucks him from his home and plops him at his aunt and cousin's during summer vacation. This is the ultimate injustice to the modern teenager—especially since Johnny has suddenly assumed the role of Remember, his autistic cousin's, caretaker—but soon, his own self-discoveries in tandem with his time with Mem and the things that happen around him, make it clear that this is one summer that Johnny will never forget.

14-year-old Johnny is good-natured and likable. He's such an honest, smart, and self-conscious character who captures teen spirit—and angst—accurately. I loved him as a narrator! Remember, our other protagonist, isn't explored as deeply because we never gain his perspective, but I warmed up to him immediately. He's definitely not perfect, and his lack of awareness and social direction sometimes get Johnny in trouble, but he's affectionate, and he's pure; with all these edgy books about forbidden romances and gangs and communist regimes and love triangles flooding the YA scene these days, a book like Remember Dippy is refreshing and enlightening because it actually has a message—a moral that everyone should take to heart.

This is the summer when Johnny grows up, gets real, and figures himself out. This is the summer when Remember shows Johnny what true friendship is about, as he becomes as much a friend to Johnny as Johnny is to Mem; the entire wholesome, heartfelt journey will stick with readers of all ages.

Pros


Lovable and real narrator // Sentimental // Demonstrates value of friendship and family // Parent- and child-friendly // Lots of plot action—never gets boring

Cons


Nothing phenomenal... overall everything—from the plot, characterization, style, and structure—is good, but not great

Verdict


Shirley Reva Vernick's Remember Dippy is a slow journey of embracing family, friends, and identity—exactly the type of book parents will want their kids (ages 9-13) to read. With beautifully crafted sentiments, heart-wrenching twists and turns, and an emotional, triumphant finish, young readers will be glued to this one, and guaranteed to be cheering by the last page Americanflag

7 hearts: Not perfect, but overall enjoyable (x)