Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

August 30, 2010


By Kathi Appelt
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Ten year old Keeper is determined to make things right.  That's why she is out in a small boat with her dog B.D. at midnight on the saltwater pond, determined to make it through the Cut and into the ocean over to the sandbar where she can call her mermaid mother who SURELY will be able to solve Keeper's problems.  Once she shows up, that is.  Even though Keeper hasn't seen her mother since she was three years old.  But Keeper has messed everything up--things for Signe, who she lives with; for Dogie the surfboard shop owner, who she loves like a father; for Mr. Beauchamp and his night-blooming flowers.  It was supposed to be a perfect night, but now that it is ruined, Keeper has to do everything she can to fix it for these people she loves.  But does she have the luck to make it all happen?  This is a truly wonderful story about family and about loving people as they are and about mermaids and about adventure and about memories.  Readers will find it difficult to not be swept up in the tide just like Keeper, and will love the characters and separate stories that all come together by the end of the book.  A special tale with just a touch of magic.

Thirteen Plus One

By Lauren Myracle
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

We join Winnie and her friends for that wonderful summer when they are turning 14 and will be moving on to high school in the fall.  Winnie can't wait to spend those golden days with her friends Cinnamon and Dinah and with her boyfriend Lars.  But then, Lars doesn't seem to be paying quite as much attention to her as she likes.  And when his birthday gift to her seems to include very little thought, Winnie isn't happy.  Then Lars tells her that his mom has a fellowship in Germany and the whole family is going--for the summer.  Winnie doesn't know if she is more crushed or angry.  Then Dinah gets caught doing something very UN-Dinah-like, and her punishment is to be sent to camp that summer...and couldn't Winnie PLEASE come along?  So Winnie's 14th summer is spent doing just the opposite of what she thought.  But the camp is pretty cool, as are some of the very cute boys who are there, too, and Winnie finds that she must work out a lot of her feelings about herself and Lars and her friends as the summer's experiences wear on. Winnie's trials and tribulations are exactly the kind a 14 year old would be concerned about, so readers will be right there with her. Fans of Winnie or just tweens looking for a light summery read will enjoy this story.