“Joyful, occasionally heartbreaking, deeply moving.” —R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder
In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman comes a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.
It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie.
Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world.
Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just.
It's 1987 in Venice, Calif., and 10-year-old Beatrice "Bug" Contreras, who is of Salvadoran descent, is certain that her summer has been ruined when her older brother Dannysuddenly insists on being called Daniel and needs space from Bug and their beach-going routine. Stuck at home with their downstairs landlady and their upstairs neighbor Phillip's nephew Frankie, a white 11-year-old visiting from Ohio, Bug is at first reluctant to befriend the newcomer. But the mystery of the Midnight Marauder, a serial killer at large in their community, draws them together as they create a map to root out the murderer. Their focus shifts, however, when Phillip is physically attacked and the details of the incident don't add up. During a summer of change and big realizations, Bug learns vital and sometimes painful lessons about the power of embracing her true self and meeting people where they are. Forman (We Are Inevitable) tenderly depicts a girl whose understanding of identity, sexuality, and prejudice is rapidly expanding, and whose chosen family provides a safe, loving space in which to navigate her experiences and learn to show up as an ally. Ages 8 12.