When her mother’s magical summer plans for them dissolve, a preteen learns that living is less about planning than making the most of the moment.
Eleven-year-old Anthoni Gillis doesn’t just have a nontraditional name. She’s also had a nontraditional upbringing, crisscrossing the country with her single mother as she recruits workers via a pyramid scheme for Beauty & the Bee, a cosmetics company. Anthoni has always believed that “Positive Thoughts Attract Positive Results” and followed her mother’s many work affirmations until her mother takes her to The Showboat Resort at Thunder Lake for the summer. Once a place of nostalgia for Anthoni’s mother, the resort now sits in disrepair. Anthoni’s disappointment causes her to question her relationship with her mother for the first time in this debut novel that captures both the hopes and disillusionments of growing up. The goal-driven girl believes if she can turn popular Maddy, a former companion and now Thunder Lake resident, into a “True Blue Friend,” as the Showboat postcard promises, she’ll solve her problems. Could Charlotte, once known as the Boulay Mermaid and now Showboat’s eccentric owner, be an actual mermaid and the secret to her success? DJ, who’s living nearby with his aunt while his father recovers from depression, helps Anthoni realize the truth about friendship. The light mystery balances the story’s bittersweet realism and rushed, concluding turn of events. All characters are presumably white.
Readers dive not only into Anthoni’s maturation, but into her resiliency. (Fiction. 8-12)