Once upon a bowling shoe….
Miles Spagoski’s favorite place is his family’s bowling alley. A worrier who is awkward with girls, Miles wishes life were more like bowling, where there is “always a chance for a do-over.” Maybe if he wears his lucky bowling shoes someone will think he’s interesting enough to go to the upcoming dance with. Meanwhile, Amy Silverman is lonely and unhappy about moving to her uncle’s funeral home; her bedroom smells moldy, and the environment triggers memories of her mom’s funeral. A writer, Amy projects her life and dreams onto her characters in hopes of rewriting her story with a happy ending. The two kids meet when one of Miles’ lucky bowling shoes lands on Amy’s head. Miles has no idea how lucky his shoe is, because things don’t always turn out the way we expect. Miles’ and Amy’s perspectives alternate in the intrusive third-person narration, which includes earnest and gently humorous insights into themes of friendship, loss, and perseverance set in a contrasting typeface. Paratext includes glossaries of bowling and writing terms. Well-rounded supporting characters include Miles’ best friend, Randall, a stylish boy with severe asthma, and their friend Tate, a blue-haired girl who weight lifts competitively. Miles is Jewish, and Amy’s leg-length discrepancy requires her to wear a heel lift. Excepting a minor character with a Spanish surname, assume the white default.
A sweet story about a friendship with a most inauspicious start. (Fiction. 9-13)