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Summer Ruins (The Field Notes of Gwen Bell, #1) Review by Michele Pleasants

Deb Watley
Deb Watley Books

We love books and have recently found a new one to add to our growing library! Summer Ruins (The Field Notes of Gwen Bell #1) written by Deb Watley, is a 208-page paperback sure to delight your middle school readers. Full of humor and adventure, this fictional book is a great read-aloud or one just for your child’s quiet time.

Summer Ruins is about a young twelve-year-old girl named Gwen and her summer adventures. Though she had plans of friends and parties and free time, a last-minute change instead puts her in the middle of an archaeological dig in South Dakota. Joining her parents for the summer, Gwen finds herself in charge of two rambunctious boys. While she tries to find ways to keep them entertained, as well as safe, she dreams of what her summer could have looked like. Instead, she finds herself in the middle of mayhem and mishaps as she tries to keep the boys out of trouble. In the end, Gwen is surprised at how much better things turn out than what she originally imagined.

Here is what I love about this book. Gwen is a typical tween that thinks her plans are the best and come first. Throughout the book, she is challenged to grow up a bit and put others first. When she stops to think outside the box and embrace change, she begins to see the adventures ahead of her, and in the end, is blessed by doing so. Paired with sweet back and white illustrations, along with Gwen’s “field notes” at the beginning of each chapter, this book will make you smile. It will also teach you a few fun facts about archeology and South Dakota history along the way! As a homeschooling family, I appreciate the true facts that Mrs.Watley has woven into the story and her obvious love for history.

With summer coming soon, I would encourage you to add Summer Ruins (The Filed Notes of Gwen Bell, #1) to your reading list.

-Product Review by Michele Pleasants, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2020