Comments for The Summer Experiment
The Summer Experiment: 08/12/14
The Summer Experiment by Cathie Pelletier is a tween book about a girl hoping to one-up her nemesis, Henry, at the local science fair. She believes the recent return of UFO sightings might make the perfect project.
The book unfolds as a series of first person narrated vignettes about life in the very northern reaches of Maine. It's more Maine than even Stephen King would be comfortable with, is one way Roberta describes it. Her town is small, isolated and doubles in size every summer with vacationers.
In the background of all of this, is the reported return of the mysterious lights, believed by some (including the sheriff) to be extra terrestrials. Roberta sees the commotion these lights is causing as a means to distract Henry from his science fair project. It's not necessarily that she wants to win, but it's very clear that she doesn't want him to win again.
In terms of the narrative ebb and flow and Roberta's narrative voice, The Summer Experiment thematically complements A Separate Peace (1959) by John Knowles. It has a similar gut wrenching scene at the climax too.