“The ones that love you protect your feelings because they’ve been given a piece of you. Others may toss them around for just the same reason.”
It’s the summer that Delsie hears that hard lesson from her grandmother and comes to fully understand what it means. Her best off-Cape friend has returned for the season, but now Brandy, once her soul mate, is wearing makeup and has brought along a mean, snobby friend, Tressa, who’s put off by Delsie’s dirty, bare feet and near-poverty. Ronan is new to the Cape, too, and at first he’s a hard boy to get to know. But Delsie, stunned by Brandy’s betrayal, perseveres, realizing that he’s just as lonely as she is and that his mother is gone, having sent him away, just as hers is—heartbreakingly lost to alcohol and drugs. A richly embroidered cast of characters, a thoughtful exploration of how real friends treat one another, and the true meaning of family all combine to make this a thoroughly satisfying coming-of-age tale. Cape Cod is nicely depicted—not the Cape of tourists but the one of year-round residents—as is the sometimes-sharp contrast between residents and summer people. The book adheres to the white default; one of Delsie's neighbors hails from St. Croix and wears her hair in an Afro.
Hunt (Fish in a Tree, 2017, etc.) has crafted another gentle, moving tale of love and loss: the value of the one and the importance of getting over the other. (Fiction. 10-12)