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Originally a series of short stories, this novel is about quiet Middle American life in the fictional Green Town, Illinois. The story mainly follows twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding and his brother, Tom, with minor characters scattered about. The novel is about nothing in particular, except the musings of Doug about rather adult themes like life and death.
The title is a metaphor for good summer memories, and in the story it's a real beverage that Doug and his grandfather actually tap into bottles for the long winter ahead.
There is a sequel, Farewell Summer.
Despite being well-written, I found this novel at times boring, and I was a little disappointed that it didn't go anywhere; there's no real story here. There are a few memorable scenes, however, like the meeting between the gang (Doug, Tom, and Charlie) and Colonel Freeleigh and between the young reporter and the old woman.