A young girl and her sister share a pivotal summer at the lake with their family.
Following on Applesauce Weather (2016), her recent book for young middle graders, Frost again explores familial intimacy from a number of revealing perspectives. In poems told mostly from 10-year-old Claire’s vantage, her 13-year-old sister, Abigail, negotiates her budding adolescence and feelings for two boys at the lake where the white family vacations each summer. Claire marvels at Abigail’s transformation into “Abi,” the “queen / of Eastside Beach,” who’s developed a “whole new talking-to-boys voice.” Both girls also reckon with the infusion of their new stepmother and a baby on the way into the family dynamic they’ve known with their father since their mother died suddenly when Claire was an infant. Frost deftly shows the value of openness to compassion and personal growth among parent, child, and sibling, using her mastery of poetic form to subtly introduce differences of voice in the poems of Claire, Abi, and the somewhat omniscient perspective of the lake itself. With her signature formalist touch, Frost plays with acrostics and other forms, occasionally embedding well-known lines of famous poems into her own; notes to these are in the backmatter.
Frost pulls out all the stops in this heartwarming tale of family in the remaking: everything a novel-in-poems should be. (Verse fiction. 10-16)