Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

June 20, 2011


By Kevin Henkes
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Alice and her parents fly every year from snowy Wisconsin to sunny Sanibel Island in Florida to celebrate her birthday.  She looks forward to the journey and to seeing all the same friends who also come and stay each year.  This year should be extra special because Alice is turning 10 and she really hopes to find a rare junonia shell.  But when they arrive at Scallop cottage, they are immediately hit by the news that some of the regulars won't be there.  Alice has barely swallowed her disappointment when her Aunt Kate arrives with a new boyfriend who has a young daughter named Mallory.  Mallory is reeling from her parents' divorce and acts happily one moment before plunging into tantrums the next.  As the days count down to her birthday, Alice can't help feeling like everything is spiraling out of her control and that the changes life are throwing at her are nothing but one disappointment after another.  Can finding a junonia save her birthday trip?  A quiet story filled with real emotion.


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