The Summer the Air Changed by Padgett Gerler
"In The Summer the Air Changed, Padgett Gerler not only has a keen sense of southern-living vernacular, but she finds a way to turn a down-home setting into an actual character and not just a convenient backdrop. There is a tone in The Summer the Air Changed that reminds the reader of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes or Sheila Turnage's Three Times Lucky.... So take a trip up the holler. Stay for a spell. And while you're there, stop by to look at the Jesus Rock, take part in local gossip at The Quilt Shop, or sip on a Cherry Co-cola."
—Leslie Tall Manning, award-winning author of Upside Down in a Laura Ingalls Town
Life is right normal for fourteen-year-old Bit Sizemore and her precocious twelve-and-a-half year old best friend, Wisteria Calliope Jones, until Bug Jeter sees Jesus in a rock and changes little Lovington, North Carolina forever. Tourists discover the sleepy mountain town, big-city pretty-boy Palmer Lee Compton threatens the girls' friendship, and the town's pets begin disappearing. That's when Wisteria decides that it's up to her and Bit to solve the mystery of the missing pets, while side-stepping the minefields of hurt feelings and teen crushes.
Padgett Gerler grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, where she loved small-town life, created rich friendships, and swam in the icy, mountain-stream-fed Jackson River. Leaving the mountains for college, she graduated from North Carolina State University with an accounting degree. After earning her CPA certificate, she practiced accounting until, in 2010, she left her career to pursue fiction writing.
Padgett is the award-winning author of six novels, her most recent (and her first Middle Grade selection), The Summer the Air Changed. Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack and Invisible Girl were both awarded the indieBRAG Medallion, while Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack also received an honorable mention in the 2014 Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards. The Gifts of Pelican Isle was a Finalist in the 2018 Best Book Awards sponsored by American Book Fest. Padgett’s short story “The Art of Dying” won first place in the Southwest Manuscripers Awards. Her short story “I Know This Happened ‘Cause Somebody Seen It” is featured in the anthology Self-Rising Flowers, published by Mountain Girl Press.