I can’t shake it, so I’ll say it: this book felt like STAND BY ME with female protagonists.
What I loved:
- The intimate picture of a family in a place they love
- The intimate picture of family drama–and the way their specific drama dovetails with the drama that Rose witnesses at the convenience store
- The gorgeous art, especially when Rose tries to lose herself in the water
- The redemption that Rose’s mom experiences during the rescue
What I found complicated: the age of the book. It won a Printz honor, so I’m supposed to consider it YA, but I’d actually call it upper-middle-grade. It doesn’t ring true for a high school reader; these are middle-grade concerns: family and a character’s place in it, watching what the “big kids” do, hanging out with younger (much younger) friends, talking about training bras.