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UNTIL THE OCEAN FREEZES by Alida Durham  Clemans


by Alida Durham Clemans

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-08-173141-0
Publisher: Self

A preteen navigates the big and small challenges of life in this debut novel.

Lizzy Zander stands on the doorstep of a whole new life after her family relocates from New Jersey to New York City. Although Lizzy knows the move to the city is the best thing for her dad, who is living with multiple sclerosis, she can’t help worrying that she’ll never fit in. Things start to look up when Lizzy becomes friends with Cassie, a fellow swimmer who lives in the building next door. Cassie introduces Lizzie to new friends and includes her in a secret club. As a different world of people and places opens up to Lizzie, she must deal with all the complicated feelings that come with big life changes. She is worried about starting a new school and deeply misses her old friends in New Jersey. Most confusing of all, she is both troubled and embarrassed by her dad’s deteriorating health. Clemans does an excellent job tackling the issues, both large and small, and the accompanying range of emotions that Lizzy is facing. The author handles Lizzy’s very real feelings about her dad’s disease with great care while deftly portraying the other hurdles, such as peer pressure and fitting in, that make up the daily lives of most adolescents. The author’s narrative, particularly appropriate for tweens who are struggling with upheavals in their lives or families, also features a diverse cast of characters. Lizzy, with pale skin and freckles, envies Cassie’s “gorgeous skin…like coffee ice cream.” Funny emails from Lizzy to her friends back in New Jersey and sweet sketches help provide a window into the girl’s world.

A well-written tale for tweens that may spark conversations about dealing with crucial changes.