cover image Bird Lake Moon

Bird Lake Moon

Kevin Henkes, . . Greenwillow, $15.99 (179pp) ISBN 978-0-06-147076-9

In a novel as tender as his acclaimed Olive's Ocean , Henkes probes the psyches of two boys facing family conflicts. Spending long, lonely days at his grandparents' lakeside home, 12-year-old Mitch Sinclair has plenty of time to brood about his parents' impending divorce and to plot against the family of “intruders” who have moved into his favorite spot, the house next door that he assumed was abandoned. What Mitch can't know is that the newcomers have been shaken by tragedy, the drowning of a child in the lake eight years ago, and their stay is destined to be short-lived. Mitch becomes friends with 10-year-old Spencer Stone, the elder of the surviving children, and as trust builds between them, the boys risk exchanging their family secrets. Tranquil Bird Lake serves as an effective setting for this reflective novel, with Henkes alternating between Mitch's and Spencer's points of view. The most remarkable aspect of the book may be the author's ability to isolate the sources of the boys' shared sense of loss and then to express, via easily recognizable and even ordinary experiences, their growing acceptance of what cannot be changed. Ages 10-14. (May)