No one expected 7th-grader Jamie Bunn to be called into the principal’s office. No one thought that quiet, artistic Jamie would be the one to violate her middle school’s strict Honor Code, especially not while trying to help a cute boy named Trey cheat on a test about Jane Eyre. And to make things worse, Trey’s sister, Jamie’s long-time nemesis, posts Jamie’s revealing apology letter to Trey for everyone to see.
Now, Jamie must live the consequences, which means summer community service at the Foxfield Public Library. There, she meets three caring adults who epitomize what we love about public libraries. There’s the warm and loving Sonia, an immigrant from Puerto Rico who makes everyone feel welcome; the committed director, Beverly, battling to save her library from budget cuts; and part-time worker Lenny, who loves to bake and harbors a not-so-secret crush on Sonia. Jamie’s perspective broadens further as she is drawn into the life stories of patrons like Wally, an elderly film lover who brings a flower each week and a homeless man she calls Black Hat Guy.
Tan’s debut novel is a warm-hearted look at some of the ways in which community libraries touch lives in unexpected ways. Jamie’s growth is believable and will ring true to young readers. And it goes without saying that book lovers of all ages can always make room for another story centered in a bookstore or library, especially one that features Jane Eyre.