Juliet loves glitter, painting, cookie-dough ice cream, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, and writing lists. She doesn’t love that she and her older sister, Miranda, have had to move away from Bakersfield to a beachfront San Diego cottage because her parents are divorcing.
The 11-year-old is immediately befriended by same-aged Emma, whose family lives near the beach and runs an ice cream shop. Together, the girls cast bottles with messages into the sea. Someone—using the signature “Some Kid at the Beach”—responds to Juliet’s message, challenging Juliet to try to make a wish come true for someone, both setting up a minor mystery and leading to a small, touching subplot. Advice for children experiencing a divorce comes thick and steady, making this a useful purchase for that group, if they are willing to overlook the rather slight storyline. Juliet is a likable-enough character, and her narrative voice mostly rings true as she alternately rages against her new situation and competently navigates it, assisted a great deal by extremely nice Emma and her remarkably pleasant family (whose mostly smooth road contrasts poignantly with Juliet’s new bumpy one) and by her older sister’s kind and calming advice. Nearly all the characters appear to be the white default.
A useful, even soothing choice for children undergoing a common transition. (Fiction. 9-12)