Science and story blend in this earnest series entry.
Middle schooler Brubeck “Bru” Ferrell wants two things this summer: for her mom to marry her longtime girlfriend, Ginger, and for her school’s Science Squad team to purchase new, sophisticated acoustic monitoring equipment to study local bats. The former seems as though it should be simple: Despite her mom’s reluctance to commit to marriage, Bru is positive that Ginger is the perfect fit for their family. The latter presents more of a challenge: Bru’s two best friends, Laura and TaKwon, are the only other people equally invested in their Science Squad’s project, which involves recording bat calls to contribute to a bat-conservation organization, so the chance of raising enough money for a quality ultrasonic recording device seems increasingly slim. On top of this, navigation of the trio’s friendship is getting steadily more complicated and confusing, causing additional tensions. While the book’s resolution is a deus ex machina, readers invested in Bru’s story will likely be happy with it. Told in journal entries that intersperse sidebars of bat facts, the narrative is friendly, accessible, and informative. The black-and-white digital illustrations are contemporary and appealing. Bru is white, and her community is multiethnic: Ginger is of Kenyan descent, TaKwon is brown, both Laura and the Science Squad’s teacher are Asian, and there are other secondary characters of color.
Sweet, optimistic, and engaging. (additional facts, glossary, index) (Fiction. 8-12)