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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”
Summary: To say Tess is superstitious would be an understatement. In her world, every wish, every event, is a sign of luck ... good or bad. So when Aaron (13) comes to live with the family, Tess prepares for the worst. Aaron is supposed to help save their island school (and Tess' mom's job). But he's a redhead. And that's bad luck. Was this really a good idea? This is a high / low YA novel about life, change, and growing up.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 13; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 10 and Up
Reading Level: 4.4
Young Reader Reaction: This story will take you on a journey to belonging as both Tess and Aaron find what they need to feel like they are where they belong. Young readers will catch a glimpse of the foster care system through Aaron’s experience as well as show them some of the ins and outs of lobster fishing. This novel balances emotion, excitement, humor, and suspense, making it a breeze to read and enjoy.
I recommend this book for kids who might know someone in a foster family or who might be moving and can relate to Aaron or Tess. I also recommend this book to anyone who likes learning about different lifestyles, because the island lifestyle Tess has is definitely unique.
Adult Reader Reaction: Realistic characters - adults included - made this a fun, engaging read. I found myself cheering for Aaron and laughing at Tess' logic at almost every turn.
Pros: Strong characters and humor come together in a great, wholesome story that all readers can enjoy.
Cons: None. I'd love to read a sequel, though.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is an exceptional story. Your too-old-for-bedtime stories preteen will love hearing this one. If you are a Foster or adoptive family, this will be particularly poignant.
Educational Themes: This would be an exceptional choice for a teen book club (boys or girls). There are wonderful conversation starters for talking with kids: friendship, prejudice, judging others, family life, and family dynamics.
Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. picked up an Advance Review Copy of this book at BookExpo America (2010).
Literary Categories: Fiction - family, young adult, friendship, life lessons, Foster Care / Adoption
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2014, September 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.