cover image The Summer We Found the Baby

The Summer We Found the Baby

Amy Hest. Candlewick, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6007-9

Hest (Letters to Leo) interlaces three perspectives to relay a story about two families living in a Long Island seaside town during WWII. Each credible voice is distinct yet complementary, shaping a richly layered, cohesive novel that is by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking. It opens with a bang, as 11-year-old Julie Sweet and her younger sister, Martha, find an infant in a basket on the library steps, and Julie impulsively decides to flee with it. Her on-again-off-again friend and nemesis Bruno Ben-Eli, 12, is on a mission for his beloved, greatly missed older brother, who’s off serving in the war, when he sees the sisters with the baby. He surreptitiously follows them to the beach, where a stately woman in a chauffeur-driven car arrives with a picnic to share. Hest deftly deconstructs this scenario through Bruno’s, Julie’s, and Martha’s flashbacks, escalating the intrigue before finally illuminating the identities of the baby and the woman—and why each has appeared. A poignant composite portrait of three children’s—and two loving families’—hope and resilience in the face of loss and uncertainty. Ages 10–up. [em](Aug.) [/em]