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Elvis, Me, and the Lemonade Stand by Leslie Gentile

I can tell you right now that this will likely be my favourite book of the summer, and it will make my list of top favourites for 2021.

It’s 1978, and Truly and her mom live in a trailer park on an Indigenous reserve on Vancouver Island. Andy El, the Salish trailer park owner, convinces Truly to start a lemonade stand to give her something to do for the summer. When Truly discovers that her mom’s friend knows where her real father is, she makes a secret plan to use the profits from her lemonade stand to find him and bring him back to the trailer park. As a cover, she tells everyone she’s saving for one of their neighbour’s new puppies, and the community helps Truly by buying her lemonade and donating items to sell at her stand. Excitement builds for Truly when a person she’s sure is Elvis Presley moves into the trailer park. But Truly’s mom is spending less time at home and hasn’t told her new boyfriend that she has a kid. As Truly spends more time with Andy El, she discovers the family she desperately seeks might be right in front of her. I wanted to hug Truly so many times for the tough life she had with a mom who didn’t want to be a mom. The community support for Truly and the strong relationship between her and Andy El challenge stereotypes about trailer parks and Indigenous people.

This is a must-read book, and at 200 pages, it’s perfect for a wide range of readers.