Summer in Iron Springs by Margie Broschinsky
Summer In Iron Springs
Spray painting Vincent van Gogh smoking a pipe on the auto shop wall wasn’t the best choice sixteen-year-old Phoebe Levick ever made. If she had known the decision would result in her losing her dream of spending the summer in New York, she may have used her artistic abilities in more positive—not to mention legal—ways. To make matters worse, her father banishes her to the small town of Iron Springs where she is expected to slave away in her aunt’s sweltering apple orchard. In Phoebe’s opinion the punishment is nothing less than cruel and unusual. The only non-dreadful thing about the job is handsome co-worker, Billy Hall.
With the chance of a summer romance heating up, and her first paycheck in hand, Phoebe heads for Hildi’s, an upscale boutique on Iron Springs’ touristy Park Street. While in town, she visits a local art gallery where she sees a cameo brooch that looks very much—correction, exactly—like the one stolen from her parent’s home the day her mother died.
The discovery of the brooch resurrects a thirteen year old murder mystery. Armed with little more than motivation, Phoebe vows to solve the mystery before summer’s end.
Note I might rant a bit, so sorry if you are the author. Sometimes I just cannot help it, I need to get it out.
If Summer in Iron Springs would have been a children's book I think it would have worked. As it is it is a young adult book and the main character is supposed to be sixteen years old. If this would have been written with her much younger then I would have enjoyed it much more. As it was I just kept thinking really? She is 16?? How does she not know about these simple things that anyone who has lived for 16 years has to have heard mention of at some point? For example after her first time going to church with Billy she talks about the shocking revelation of the idea of heaven! Did you know that they think when you die it is not the end and you get to go to heaven and see your family again?? I mean she had heard of it before, but it didn't seem real or something. I was just like wait a minute. You are 16 and you have vaguely heard of heaven, but suddenly a preacher talks about it and it is this mind blowing thing? Like woah! I never knew we could see our loved ones again after we die!?! It was just so naive and seemed like someone that old should at least be able to think about such things in an intelligent way.
After another visit to church she learns about this thing called forgiveness. Seriously? In 16 years you have never had anyone say how you should forgive people who do you wrong? How you can let go of your anger? They never mention anything like that in school or anything? Forgiveness is such a foreign concept you only hear about it at church? Really? I just can't. Did she grow up in the middle of the woods cut off from all civilization? No book, movies or tv shows? Just herself and the plants and animals to keep her company? No, she grew up in Seattle a major city. Yet somehow she doesn't know these simple common knowledge things that you would think she would at some point come across in her 16 years of living. Like I said if she were younger, like 8, I could accept this more easily. As it is I think what rock was she living under? Or maybe she has something wrong with her and cannot use her brain, cannot think? I don't know. It seemed like too much of a stretch for a 16 year old to be so stupid to simple things.
My other issue with Phoebe? She seems to throw temper tantrums all the time. She finds out new information and instead of asking someone about it or why they didn't tell her about it she runs off and throws a fit. Every time she hears anything about her mother as well she just breaks down. Which is fine, she can be upset, but after a while I think she needs some help. Maybe she should talk to someone if 13 years later she is this upset by the mention of her mom. Yes I get that her dad didn't ever talk about her, but you should be able to deal a little bit with all of this. That and she is kind of snotty to everyone when she first gets there for no reason I could discern. Yes it sucks you didn't get to go to NYC for the summer, but why treat people who are trying to be nice and accommodate you so poorly? Thankfully that didn't last long since she met the dreamy Billy and everything was fine with her staying there for the summer since she had him.
Speaking of Billy he was not the best. It was not realistic after such a short time that he was in love with her. After their first date Phoebe's friend was all like you love him! And Phoebe was all I do! I didn't see it. I didn't get it. Then when Billy's ex shows up and tries to stir up trouble and he does nothing...not cool. I know she forgives him like right away once she talks to him, but come on! Stick up for her if you love her like you say you do. Do something! Yeah he was there for her when she needed someone, but I didn't love him. Maybe it was because the whole story was a bit too simplistic and easy and I kept picturing these kids and kids not teenagers.
What else? Well everything was way too easy. Everything was resolved to quickly. For example Phoebes dad. He comes down to see her and tell her about her mom, she is upset with him but his really wooden speech trying to tug at the heartstrings just won her right over and everything was fine. Suddenly he could talk about everything and supported her art and was the best dad ever! It only took a few weeks and everything is perfect! Wow how I wish everyone had a magic wand to change everything near instantly. Let's look at a sentence from his speech which really made me roll my eyes:
"I want you to know that I have thought a lot about this and I have decided that I will never lie to you again."
Great dad! It is just so....off from what a normal person would say. Or it sounds off to me at least. If it was something like I am so sorry I will never lie to you again then okay I can go with it. For some reason that sentence just really got me as it is so strange sounding to me. Maybe not by itself, but I don't really want to include the whole conversation (all of the sentences are like the line above). Then Billy's dad also see the light after a minor situation and instantly tries to right the wrongs of the past however long. It is just like everything is instantly fixed which is not believable. Why would anyone suddenly change like that? Again if they were younger characters I would be more forgiving.
Another minor complaint is the complaining about how wet Seattle it. How it rains all the time. Well not really. That is a common myth about Seattle. Yes it is grey a lot of the time, you can have months of grey weather, but it really doesn't rain rain all that much. I lived there for 7 years, it was not bad. It feels like we get way more rain where I live now since when it rains it pours. Just a minor complaint. Seattle is really not that wet, really not that bad, it just has a bad wrap.
Finally the detective sleuthing trying to figure out who stole the brooch. Again if these kids were younger I would have thought this is a nice children's story. It was all a little too simple and childish for me to believe it was teenagers. Maybe I just know smarter teenagers than the kids in this book. I don't know. They did not seem like they were that old. My main issue with the book as a whole is just that it is very immature and childish, but the characters are supposed to be a lot older than they seem. Make it so the characters are younger and it would be more believable. Yes they wouldn't be able to drive and stuff, but you could make it work.