cover image In Your Shoes

In Your Shoes

Donna Gephart. Delacorte, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1373-7

This clever story about friendship, loss, and bowling shoes by Gephart (Lily and Dunkin) traces how two miserable middle schoolers strike up an unexpected friendship. Still grieving over her mother’s recent death, Amy Silverman is not happy about moving from Chicago to Buckington (“Borington”), Pa., to live with her uncle above his funeral home. Meanwhile, Miles Spagoski, whose family owns Buckington Bowl, the local bowling alley, is also feeling sorrow, as well as anxiety. He misses his grandmother, who died a year ago, and is worried about his ailing grandfather. The tweens meet under unfortunate circumstances on Amy’s first day of school: before Amy even enters the building, Miles’s lucky bowling shoe gets tossed in the air and clonks her on the head. Though tossed-shoe victim and crackerjack bowler are destined to become close, the build to this inevitability is entertaining, as Miles awkwardly attempts to make amends, and Amy, when she’s feeling blue, composes an ongoing story about a peasant girl who also gets hit in the head. Told from the alternating perspectives of the endearing protagonists, the novel humorously verifies that loss can lead to surprising beginnings. Ages 9–12. [em]Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Oct.) [/em]