Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ebb & Flow, written by Heather Smith. Kids Can Press, 2018. $17.99 ages 10 and up

"The Truth Was

Sometimes, being bad
felt good.
Like the time
Junior and me
ordered ten pizzas
in our teacher's name
and had them sent to the classroom.
Afterward, Junior called me
his partner in crime."

This is such a powerful, yet tender, free verse novel about a boy (and his rotten bad year) and a summer spent with his grandmother. Readers know from the opening lines that he accepts responsibility for all that happened. It takes a while before his whole story is told.

Things during the time leading up to the summer visit have, obviously, not gone well. When his father goes to prison as a result of a terrible drunk driving accident, Jett and his mother move to a new place, a new school, and a shameful friendship with Junior. Junior has troubles of his own, and Jett is a willing participant in some pretty contemptible behavior. Jett is mad and vents that anger through those actions.

Throughout the summer, it is evident that Jett loves his grandmother and she loves him. She works quietly to calm his anger, and boost his self-esteem, which is at an all-time. Her support and the comfort he has always felt in her company lead him to share the events of the past year.

"Bad Thing

After the movie
we went out to eat.
I sat in the booth
of the old-fashioned diner
staring at the seeds
on my hamburger bun.
Grandma said,
That was a real tearjerker, huh? 
And I said,
I did a bad thing this year. 
Grandma said,
I know."

Full of heart and hope, this beautifully written first person narrative shares the regret Jett feels for what he has done. His love of language is shared by his grandmother, and provides some needed humor for those reading his touching story. Both main characters are deserving of the reader's attention and admiration. Their relationship is strong; the change doesn't come easy but is worth the hard work. In the end, Jett hopes to find forgiveness from the man he has hurt so badly. Maybe then he will finally be able to forgive himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment