SAND DOLLAR SUMMER by Kimberly K. Jones


Age Range: 10 - 13
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The secure, suburban life that 12-year-old Lise is accustomed to abruptly moves into a forced hiatus after her single mom is seriously injured in a car accident and in need of long-term recuperation. Instead of summer camp, Lise and her five-year-old brother, Free, head for Maine, the ocean and mom’s childhood hometown. Feeling both resentment and genuine fear for her mother’s physical debilities, Lise must adjust to the powerful sea, sand and a simple, lonely summer life. A renewed friendship between her mother and Dr. Michael, meeting Ben, an intriguing elderly Abenaki resident, and a terrifying hurricane all add to Lise’s unexpected summer woes. The first-person narrative incorporates effective symbolism, using a deserted beach to bring out this protagonist’s feelings of uncertainty in a new environment while lacking peer companionship. Yet, Lise experiences an awakening as she harbors her private concerns about a missing father and the mysterious muteness of her little brother. Like the ocean’s dual beauty and danger, Lise realizes certain life situations are beyond control. Like Ben, she must have faith to live life as it comes. A heartfelt debut; a coming-of-age with a bit of pathos and a perilously climactic finale. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0362-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2006


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