STARRED REVIEW
March 2017

A novel-in-verse captures the magic of growing up

By Helen Frost
Review by

This novel-in-verse alternates between Claire and Abigail’s voices while incorporating the perspective of the lake itself. Throughout these stanzas, Claire tries to come to terms with Abigail growing up: She’s calling herself “Abi” now, has taken a definite interest in boys and is distancing herself from her little sister. With nothing but change at every turn, Claire feels the seams of her family loosening. Growing up is hard; growing apart is even harder. 

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This coming-of-age story opens with a lightning-bolt moment—literally the moment a young mother is struck by lightning and taken from her two toddlers. The narrative then flashes ahead 10 years—to 10-year-old Claire and 13-year-old Abigail, enjoying their usual summer at their lake house. But this year, everything is different: Dad and his new wife are expecting a baby.

This novel-in-verse alternates between Claire and Abigail’s voices while incorporating the perspective of the lake itself. Throughout these stanzas, Claire tries to come to terms with Abigail growing up: She’s calling herself “Abi” now, has taken a definite interest in boys and is distancing herself from her little sister. With nothing but change at every turn, Claire feels the seams of her family loosening. Growing up is hard; growing apart is even harder. 

Novels-in-verse must work double duty: The story must be compelling and the verse accessible and worthy of the story. Helen Frost, a Printz Honor-winning author, has done so seamlessly. Her mastery extends to her use of varied poetic forms, including acrostics, which incorporate lines from some of Frost’s favorite poems. 

 

This article was originally published in the March 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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