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MANATEE SUMMER by Evan Griffith Kirkus Star


by Evan Griffith

Pub Date: June 28th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-06-309491-8
Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

A balmy Florida summer turns unforgettable for two best friends.

Peter and Tommy have been inseparable since meeting a few summers back. Even though they go to different schools—Tommy attends a private school for gifted kids while Peter attends his local public school—the rising sixth graders have bonded over a mutual love for animals and a desire to explore. Leaving the safe familiarity of elementary school behind, Peter is facing a summer of changes and challenges as he prepares to enter middle school. Peter and Tommy’s two-member Discovery Club seeks to find and catalog 100 unique creatures before the summer draws to a close. Discovery No. 95, a manatee, sets a summer of courage and activism in motion. To complicate matters, Peter has also been tasked with being his grandfather’s caretaker while his mom is at work, something made more difficult by Papa’s rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s. Secrets test Tommy and Peter’s friendship, and a devastating accident for the manatee pushes Peter to his breaking point. Now he must find the strength to stand up for the manatees and fight for his friendship and family in the face of difficulties. Traditional masculine stereotypes are defied by a gentle, attentive friendship between two boys who are able to cry in front of each other. Main characters are assumed White.

A lush backdrop and sweet characters facing complicated problems will keep readers hooked.

(author's note) (Fiction. 9-13)