cover image Quicksand Pond

Quicksand Pond

Janet Taylor Lisle. Atheneum, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7222-7

Echoing the themes and tone of Lisle’s Newbery Honor–winning Afternoon of the Elves, this loss-of-innocence novel traces the delicate friendship built between two girls from different backgrounds. Irritated with everyone in her family, 12-year-old Jessie Kettel is in a “separatist mood” when she arrives at a rented Rhode Island cottage for summer vacation. While her father and siblings find other ways to occupy their time, she goes off by herself to the nearby pond, where she finds a dilapidated raft and later meets Terri, a local girl. Terri is eager to help Jesse fix the craft, and as the girls make repairs, Jessie becomes unsettled by Terri’s stories about the downfall of her family, her destructive home life, and her dreams to get away. With characteristic subtlety and enormous compassion, Lisle expresses complex family and social conflicts while showing how Jessie’s understanding of the world and her newfound friend expand, even as the views of those around her remain narrow. Terri’s struggle against oppression and prejudice will have as profound an impact on readers as it does on Jessie. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Gina Maccoby, Gina Maccoby Literary. (May) [/em]