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Publisher: Greenwillow Books, a Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 2011
Material: hard cover
Summary: Is there anything better than celebrating your tenth birthday at your favorite place in the world? Alice Rice doesn't think so. At least not until she realizes that things are different this year. Some of her friends in other cottages aren't coming, and Aunt Kate is bringing her new boyfriend and 6-year-old daughter Mallory. Alice knows she's supposed to be the big kid, but Mallory challenges everything - and ruined her birthday! Turning 10 is hard. This chapter book offers a story of self discovery, change, and family.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 8 and Up; read yourself: 9 and Up
Interest Level: 8 to 12
Reading Level: 4.8
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a rich, beautiful story. The descriptions draw you into the story as if you're standing right there with Alice. It is a quiet book that won't appeal to all readers, but don't mistake it for a "girl book." Alice's thoughts and emotions are universal. This has the potential to be a comfort book for preteens.
Pros: Vivid descriptions and a realistic cast make for an engaging summer vacation read. This could be particularly powerful for kids who struggle with change. Alice offers a road map that might help.
Cons: None, really. It does seem a bit mature, and some readers may get bored for the lack of action.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a must for your to-read list. It could be a book you buy for your bookshelf or as a gift. Alice may remind you of a preteen in your life who would enjoy it.
Educational Themes: This is Alice's story, and there are definite "pivot moments" where readers have a chance to walk in Alice's shoes - and you have the opportunity to ask "what would you do" or "how would you feel." Alice has to deal with and accommodate different types of personalities and change, too. Her strategies (successful and not) could be helpful in working with kids who struggle with change.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - family, summer
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.