“This book is a treasure—a touching story of friendship, loss, and finding beauty in the everyday, with characters who stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. I absolutely loved it.”—R. J. Palacio, New York Times bestselling author of Wonder
Laurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island, returns with another unforgettable story of the moments in which we find out who we are, and the life-altering friendships that show us what we can be.
The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels. . . lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.
Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost.
Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships, somewhere only they can find.
But as the days of this magical June start to draw to a close, and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.
Leah Davidson, 13, lives in a tight-knit Atlanta neighborhood "one big family," neighbors call it. But ever since last summer, when her brother Sam drowned, Leah's parents have become ghostlike, and the closeness she once felt with her family and best friends has disappeared. Now, facing a long and lonely summer at home, Leah is immediately intrigued by the red-headed girl she meets while wandering through a nearby farm. Jasper is gregarious, adventurous, and possessing emotional intelligence beyond her age, qualities that help Leah to shed her grief and guilt. But as Leah learns that Jasper has a past she wants to leave behind as well, she grapples with how to protect her friend while keeping her secrets. Snyder tackles heavy topics (death and grief, abuse and homelessness) straightforwardly in this coming-of-age story. Her adept characterization of Jasper, whose hope and sincerity are palpable, offers buoyancy, and the joyful, almost ethereal friendship the two girls form is refreshingly and intensely honest. Snyder maintains a languid, unhurried pace that evokes the lazy days of summer and crescendos in a meaningful, bittersweet ending. A candid story about two teens who find solace and strength in each other. Ages 8 12.