Sand Dollar Summer
Kimberly K. Jones
Margaret K. McElderry Books
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". . . Jones has written a promising debut novel. . ."
". . . Reminiscent of Judy Blume’s works . . ."
“Don’t ever doubt that a mere second can change your life forever,” says twelve year old Annalise, the main character in Sand Dollar Summer. Her mother, Lise, is seriously injured in a car accident. Lise, a single mother, decides that returning to her hometown in Maine would be the best place to recuperate. She heads east with her two children: Annalise and her brilliant younger brother Free as well as their Newfoundland dog. Through Annalise’s eyes we see the emotional and physical impact the accident and the move to the Maine coast has on all three family members.
Although her mother grew up in Maine, this is Annalise’s first experience with the ocean. Its wildness and enormity shakes her otherwise tough-girl attitude. Living on an island is just one in a string of changes Annalise must face in both her family and her surroundings. Young Free, who has not spoken since birth, seems to adapt to their new life in stride, acting wise beyond his five years. But their mother, once vivacious and daring, now seems unfamiliar and aloof.
While they are busy coming to terms with their new lives, the family encounters two island residents: Michael, Lise’s one-time boyfriend, and Ben, an elderly Passamaquoddy, who teaches Annalise about the ocean and ultimately life. While both of these characters are a bit too perfect, they don’t detract from the book’s appeal. As Annalise adjusts to the renewed presence of Michael in her mother’s life, she learns about herself as well. When a hurricane threatens all that they’ve come to hold dear, Annalise goes through a life-altering ordeal, which serves as the climax for this emotionally tumultuous summer.
Reminiscent of Judy Blume’s works where female characters face tough situations, Kimberly K. Jones has written a promising debut novel. Sand Dollar Summer will charm its readers with its touching and humorous portrayal of a girl and her family adjusting to life’s ever-changing circumstances.
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