The Line Tender
In Rockport, Mass., budding artist and narrator Lucy, 12, does everything with her best friend Fred, a keen scientist, including writing an extra credit field guide to local wildlife (he researches, she illustrates). When family friend and fisherman Sookie accidentally catches a great white shark, TV stations broadcast old footage of Lucy’s marine biologist mother, a shark expert who died suddenly when Lucy was seven, dredging up old feelings for the girl. Romantic tension begins to crackle between Lucy and Fred, but a tragic swimming accident at the local quarry plunges the entire town into grief, and Lucy and her depressed detective father must recover once again. Firmly rooted with a strong sense of place and sketched with powerful sensory details, the narrative offers a colorful multigenerational cast that comes together to help Lucy learn more about her mother’s work and begin to heal her own heart. Allen tackles the complexities of grief with subtly wry humor and insight in this richly layered middle grade debut about the power of science and love. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Ages 10–up. (Apr.)