Books by Karen Day

Released: April 5, 2011

With sixth grade—and elementary school—finally over, Lucy is excited about summer. As usual, she'll be spending it with her widowed father and younger brother in the family's summer cottage in a tight-knit coastal vacation community in Maine. But two major changes threaten to ruin her vacation. Annoying, almost-a-bully classmate Ian and his family are new summer neighbors, and the PT, her father's girlfriend (she began as his physical therapist), will be visiting—a lot. Lucy has plenty of issues with the PT, mostly related to her unresolved grief over her mother's death six years ago. Ian also has issues, which seem to be tied to his high-school-aged sister, Alison. Is she what she first appears—smart, talented and a lot like Lucy—or perhaps a bullying, manipulative liar? To raise money for a kayak, Lucy has carefully organized a babysitting camp for the community's younger children, patiently dealing with their problems, and she introspectively examines her relationship with Ian in her first-person narration. These signs of maturity make her frequent outbursts over the PT's gentle overtures out of character. As the summer progresses, Lucy gets to know both Ian and the PT better, discovering that things and people aren't always what they first appear. A pleasant but never compelling effort that captures the flavor of preteen-hood even if it misses the mark with its protagonist. (Fiction. 9-13)Read full book review >
Released: May 13, 2008

Baseball provides fertile ground for exploring cultural and personal issues in this satisfying novel set in the summer of 1980. Twelve-year-old Madison, a natural athlete, learned to pitch in pick-up games with coaching from her brother. When he encourages her to try out for a boys' team in their small Michigan town, Madison thinks it might be fun. But she finds that when she pitches well, which is almost always, people say she "throws like a boy." If a boy pitches poorly, he "throws like a girl." Her teammates react to her with mixed feelings; two show romantic interest. Coming-of-age themes emerge naturally at home and on the field. Madison chafes at the feminist views of her mother, a well-drawn character, but recognizes her love and loyalty. She resents her former best friend's interest in clothes and popularity, but sees her own role in undermining the friendship. Her feelings and choices ring true as do her teammates' complex reactions. Since controversy still surrounds girls playing football, this fine sports story is fresh and relevant. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
TALL TALES by Karen Day
Released: May 8, 2007

New town, new school, same old family problems. Twelve-year-old Meg is quietly hoping this time will be different since she's tired of moving around from Michigan to Indiana so her alcoholic father can keep changing jobs. Unlike previous years, though, older brother Teddy is more combative with drunken Dad, risking emotional and physical abuse. Mother is struggling to find a job, while Meg's made-up tall tales about her life and family are becoming more frequent. She begins to worry about being caught in all sorts of lies with her new friend, Grace, who struggles with the loss of her mother to cancer. Things go from bad to worse, as battered Mom and kids fear for their safety yet are afraid to seek help even when a broken arm sends red flags to everyone at the hospital. Meg's personal emotional ordeal is well portrayed as the reader is allowed into her private confused thoughts. Day juxtaposes numerous themes and issues around two friends who live very differently, yet are burdened with powerful feelings of guilt and grief. Darkened days brighten for Meg and her family when help is finally accepted from responsible adults and a new friendship grows to a trusting and truthful relationship. Realistic, with an auspicious ending. (Fiction. 10-13)Read full book review >