Ebb and Flow

Heather Smith. Kids Can, $16.99 (232p) ISBN 978-1-77138-838-2
After a “rotten bad year,” 11-year-old Jett goes to spend the summer with his grandmother on the island where his family lived until his father was sent to prison. In the past year Jett has begun acting out, which culminates with his participation in an act he is deeply ashamed of. Over the course of this free-verse novel, Jett has flashbacks of befriending a boy named Junior, who gives Jett’s anger at his dad an outlet: together the boys steal money from a classmate and bully other kids. Junior’s own story of abuse and neglect is uncovered as the boys journey together towards the act that gets Jett shipped off for the summer. The novel is also grounded in the present, as Jett’s relationship with his “cotton candy granny”—who dyes her hair bright colors, collects sea glass, and shares her own mistakes and wisdom with her grandson—slowly heals Jett and allows him to confront his past. Smith’s sparse language exposes the heart of Jett’s anguish and destructive anger; he’s a realistically complex character whose emotional development unfolds organically through Smith’s quiet storytelling. Ages 9–12. Agent: Amy Tompkins, Transatlantic Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 04/03/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-5253-0335-7
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