Kirkus Review

Author: Kline, Lisa Williams
Issue Date: May 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: April 18, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 240
Price ( Hardcover ): $10.99
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0310726135
Series: Sisters in All Seasons

Blended families that resist blending are a middle-grade–fiction staple, but this funny, gentle and compassionate story feels fresh, thanks to appealing, closely observed characters, both major and minor, and a compelling setting.

In alternating chapters, Diana and Stephanie describe their eventful week at a rustic North Carolina resort where Diana’s mom and Stephanie’s dad have arranged their new family’s first vacation. Both girls are entering eighth grade, but Diana, having repeated third grade, is older. Burdened with an unspecified mood disorder, she’s a difficult kid—inattentive, impetuous, angry—bonding more deeply with animals, especially horses, than people. Pretty, timid Stephanie is smart and kind but anxious about horses and river rafting; Diana tries her patience and exacerbates her fears. Each—her self-confidence shaken by family breakup and reconfiguration—pushes the other’s buttons until, in a rare bonding moment, they set two captive wolves free. However, the fallout from their “good deed” will have unpredictable consequences on those around them, human and animal. Mitigating the damage will take individual soul searching and cooperation. While drawing from several well-known Cherokee tales, Kline avoids didacticism; the girls’ discoveries, flowing from their natures and experience, feel earned. Recognizing how much of life they can’t control is tough but liberating, freeing them to focus on what is within their power: their own responses.

A fresh take on an old story. (Fiction. 8-12)
— John Peters, Kirkus Reviews,​

Booklist Review
September 12, 2012
Summer of the Wolves
Kline, Lisa Williams (Author)
May 2012. 240 p. Zonderkidz, hardcover,  $10.99. (9780310726135)

Daredevil Diana loves all animals, especially horses, and has to take medication to help her manage her emotions, while Stephanie is quiet and a homebody. Now stepsisters, the girls’ aren’t thrilled by their parents’ expectations that they become good friends, but a family trip to a ranch in North Carolina might make it happen. When Diana discovers two penned-up wolves in the forest, she vows to set them free, and surprisingly Stephanie sneaks out to help. The girls soon realize they’ve more harm than good, and they must work together to try to rectify the situation. Kline showcases the difficulties of making blended families work without offering pat answers, and the result is a nicely crafted novel, told from the two girls’ perspectives in alternating chapters. With a little romance, and some truly breathtaking scenery, this novel—the first in a four-part series—neatly covers all its bases.
— Melissa  Moore

Review:  The Dove Foundation

Cleverly crafted and close to home for many modern families, 'Summer of the Wolves' is a great read! Lisa Williams Kline is a gifted storyteller, weaving themes of loyalty, popularity, and hierarchy into this tale for animal lovers. Kline provides a glimpse into the life of a blended family. The characters are beautifully flawed and feel real-to-life and instantly relatable. Whether you identify with Diana, the standoffish loner who sees a therapist for mood issues, or Stephanie, the easygoing but prim girl afraid of the world, you’ll find a character to root for. Chapters alternate perspectives between Diana and Stephanie, allowing the reader to get behind the eyes of each. The target audience is definitely tween girls, especially those with soft spots for horses. The animal scenes are well detailed, showing that the author has done her research, which probably wasn’t too hard since her husband is a veterinarian. I ended up learning a fair amount about the animals without feeling like I was getting a biology lesson. Parents can use Summer of the Wolves as a teaching tool on how to relate to kids who are dealing with divorce and blended families. At times the kids are jealous, feeling like their place in their parent’s life has been superseded by each other. The story shows a strong husband-and-wife team still figuring out what it means to be a family. They make mistakes, but they learn from them. The parents aren’t the only ones who make mistakes. When the kids make bad decisions, their shared acts bring them together but they still have to answer for their actions. Kids will see how their decisions can have unforeseen consequences regardless of the best intentions. Frankly, that’s a lesson I am still learning too. The important thing, and Kline does a great job of showing this, is being mature enough to take responsibility for our mistakes. Summer of the Wolves is the first book in the Sisters in All Seasons series.

From School Library Journal on Winter's Tide

Gr 7-9-Stepsisters Diana and Stephanie live with their recently married parents most of the time but go to their "other" families for weekend visits. Diana, who is having adjustment problems, is compared to Stephanie (the good girl) and resents it. But is Stephanie really the good girl, and why does she dislike her stepbrother Matt so vehemently? When he is involved in a serious automobile accident on Christmas and Stephanie's grandmother is also hospitalized, the girls are finally honest with each other and test their relationship. This bibliotheraputic dream come true will be appreciated by many readers, who will ask for other books in the series because they will want to know more about these believable characters.-Kathy Lyday, South Caldwell High School, NCα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist on Winter's Tide

Stepsisters Diana and Stephanie have made progress, but when Stephanie’s grandmother is hospitalized and Diana is suspended for fighting a bully, the holes in their patchy relationship threaten to grow wider. Oddly enough, it is the beaching of a pilot whale on the North Carolina coast that brings the two girls together and gives them a fresh awareness of their own weaknesses and empathy with each other. A bit heavier than others in the Sisters in All Seasons series, with its awareness of suffering and death on several levels, this title adds a satisfyingly thoughtful element. Grades 5-8. --Melissa Moore

From School Library Journal on Season of Change

Gr 5-8–The final installment in the series is a wholesome read tackling the issues of a blended family. Just as stepsisters Diana and Stephanie are beginning to understand each other, their parents are having marital issues. The girls are dropped off at Diana's grandparents' for a long weekend while Norm and Lynn secretly attend a marriage counseling retreat. The weekend is going great until Diana, an animal lover, hits a deer while driving and Stephanie's mom suddenly arrives to pick her up. Separated, the girls discover that they need and rely on each other and quickly reunite. This realization cements their dedication to keep their family together, whatever the means. Diana's grandparents provide the model of a solid, loving partnership, which contrasts with Norm and Lynn's newer, still-developing marriage. The setting of one weekend is too short to see real character development, but readers do see the girls learn some lessons and grow in that respect.–Tiffany O'Leary, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist on Season of Change

Diana and Stephanie, reluctant stepsisters, have just started to enjoy their new family when the adults in the family admit they are having marital problems. Lynn and Norm decide to go on a couple’s retreat and leave the girls with Lynn’s parents for the weekend. Once there, a mix-up leaves Stephanie stranded at a party, and Diana must break a few rules to rescue her. Told in alternating chapters, the simple story makes the teens seem younger than they are. But fans of the series (Summer of the Wolves, 2012) will appreciate this further look into the girls’ lives, and even those new to the books can dive right in. Kids with their own step-, half-, or even full-sibling issues will take to this. Grades 5-8. --Ilene Cooper

Summer of the Wolves, by Lisa Williams Kline, The Sisters in All Seasons Series

Summer of the Wolves, by Lisa Williams Kline
Sisters in All Seasons: Book 1

Zondervan, $10.99
Contemporary, realistic fiction, ages 9-12

I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this series, two extremely differeent stepsisters, and I was sad when it was finished. But happy because the books are so good Zondervan decided to publish a fifth book in the series. And Lisa Williams Kline is simply lovely to work with and an excellent writer. 

Sisters in All Seasons

Wild Horse Spring

Ages: 9 - 12; Grade Level: 4 - 6
Sisters in All Seasons (Book 2)
Publisher: Zonderkidz,, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0310726159

Winter's Tide

Ages: 9 - 12 years; Grade Level: 4 - 6

Sisters in All Seasons (Book 4)
Publisher: Zonderkidz, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0310726197

Blue Autumn Cruise

Ages: 9 - 12 years; Grade Level: 4 - 6
Sisters in All Seasons (Book 3)
Publisher: Zonderkidz, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0310726173

Winter's Tide, by Lisa Williams Kline, book 2 in the Sisters in All Seasons series

Slush Pile: A publishing industry term referring to the "pile" of manuscript submissions an editor has on his or her desk (and inbox) at any given time, typically unsolicited and unagented.

Slush Pile

Season of Change

Ages: 9 - 12 years; Grade Level: 4 - 6
Sisters in All Seasons (Book 5)
Publisher: Zonderkidz, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0310740070

Read the whole series!

Season of Change, by Lisa Williams Kline