cover image Carrying Mason

Carrying Mason

Joyce Magnin. Zonderkidz, $14.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-310-72681-4

Magnin (Bright's Pond series) writes her first book for younger readers with this middle-grade story of 13-year-old Luna, whose best friend Mason dies in a car accident. Luna decides to move in with Mason's mother, Ruby Day, who is mentally disabled, to lend a hand and to honor her friend. The plot thickens when Ruby Day's Aunt Sapphire shows up in a chauffeured limousine wearing a boa made of two dead foxes. Sapphire wants something, and it can't be good. Magnin's strengths are well displayed in this coming-of-age tale: her dialogue crackles, her wit relieves (Luna is affectionately called "Luna Fish" from a mishap with a tuna fish sandwich), and her sense of family dynamics that includes the usual verbal sparring among children is lively. Luna's parents seem a bit too Hallmark Channel good to be true, but that won't bother everyone. There's no supernatural world or dystopia here%E2%80%94just smalltown life, death, and growing up. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (Sept.)