Sibs Evan and Jessie face their toughest physical and emotional challenges yet in this concluding—and best so far—sequel to The Lemonade War (2007).
Zeroing in with uncommon perspicacity on the push-and-pull relationship between the two children—Evan a thoroughly average 10-year-old who provides the stability that his much brighter but high-strung little sister lacks—Davies casts them into a series of strenuous tests. These begin with decidedly mixed responses to the unexpected but well-timed appearance of their long-divorced and absent father just as their responsible, hardworking mother is about to cancel an important business trip for lack of child care. Unfortunately, Dad, a self-absorbed war journalist, turns out to be so lacking in the parenting department that he suddenly jets off in the night, leaving the children alone just hours before a Category 1 hurricane hits town. By leaning on each other they triumphantly survive two days of flooding and nonstop terror before airports reopen and their mother can get back. Later, she explains that though some people just aren’t “meant to be parents,” it “doesn’t make them bad, and you can still love them.” Adults will likely condemn this as undeserved mitigation for despicable behavior; child readers, being more vulnerable to parental failures, may find it a hard truth that serves as a means for both coping with and forgiving them.
Action and humor make the hard lessons go down easy. (magic-trick instructions) (Fiction. 8-11)