Study Guide

One Crazy Summer Plot Analysis

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Plot Analysis


California, Here We Come

Delphine and her sisters start off on a plane on their way to bright and sunny California. The girls are off to meet their mom who ran away without so much as a goodbye nearly four years ago. They're a little nervous, but mostly they're excited—they picture California the way it's shown in the movies, complete with warm beaches and Disneyland. This is the exposition because it offers up the lay of the land that the rest of the book rests on.

Rising Action

Mommy Not So Dearest

The girls weren't sure what to expect from their mom, Cecile, but they still didn't think she'd be cold as ice. So that's a bummer to discover. It's clear Cecile's not interested in having the girls around, and in case they weren't picking up on this from the fact that she sends them out whenever she can, she also tells them as much, directly. Delphine starts wondering whether it was a mistake to go to California in the first place, and she definitely doesn't see the point in going to the Center every day. And yet here she is, growing less happy with her situation by the day.


The Right To Remain Silent

Imagine Delphine's surprise when she comes home to finding Cecile getting arrested. The charge? Writing poetry. When Cecile is thrown in jail simply for voicing her ideas, it's a turning point for Delphine: She finally gets that Black Power isn't about rallies or protests; it's about standing up for what's right. It's downright wrong to treat someone differently because of their skin color, and for the first time, Delphine starts to see how she can help fight this in her own community.

Falling Action

A Poet Is Born

At the Black Panther's rally, Fern steps up and delivers a poem to the cheering crowd. Cecile is released from jail just in time to see her daughters in action; she's excited they are at the rally and pleased they chose to recite one of her poems. Delphine revels in the glory of the moment, and it gives her the courage to tell her mom what she really thinks of her: It wasn't cool that Cecile ditched them. This is a big moment for Delphine because she's finally being honest about how she feels, ready to speak her truth and accept whatever happens next.


Keep In Touch, Okay?

The girls head back home to Brooklyn after learning a lot more about their mom. Sure, she's no Mrs. Brady, but she has her own stuff going for her. Delphine realizes things are way more complicated than what she thought before their visit, and while she might not become besties with her mom, she's one giant step closer to understanding the gal. Cecile and Delphine promise to keep in touch, which is way more of a resolution that we thought we'd get based on the beginning of the book.

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