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Summary: Three years, three moves. Cheryl wants to go home. Not the new, rented home in Newfoundland. Home home - Montreal. She's an outsider ... life is easier that way. When she explains she's just here because her dad is writing a book about their dying way of life, they don't want to talk to her anymore. Who wants conversation? Well, Jim, the boy next door does. For reasons that Cheryl can't understand, she has found someone she wants to talk to. But when Jim finds out about the book, Cheryl finds her wall in a shambles. Is running to Montreal the answer? This middle grade novel chronicles the life of a teen during her summer vacation.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 13; read yourself: 12 and up
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fascinating story. I've left a lot of details out of the summary because I don't want to spoil it. Everyone, not just teens who have moved a lot, can relate to Cheryl's feelings of ambivalence, frustration, isolation, and needing to belong. The author has crafted a beautiful story and characters you think are perfect have flaws; and the "bad guys" aren't as flawed as you thought. The family dynamics for both families are well portrayed.
Pros: Time moves quickly and readers won't want to miss a moment in this moving novel about dreams, disappointment, family, and friendship.
Cons: Absolutely none. Although this is billed as a young adult book, it is a wholesome read, and suited for middle-grade students, too.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book pre-teens and teens will come back to, especially when they are frustrated by being in a new place or parents. This is a great selection for summer reading, classroom read alouds, and book clubs.
Educational Themes: There is a lot to explore in the story. First, you have two very different families: Jim's family is blue collar, and he lives with his grandmother so he can go to school; Cheryl's parents are academics. There are opportunities to talk about each of the characters, their choices, and the roles in their family (e.g., Cheryl's father).
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub. This was an unsolicited donation.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, friendship, family