"Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."
Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't -- and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it.
Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.
And this year Martha's routine at her beloved grandmother's beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if? The world can change in a minute.
With his usual sensitivity and insight, Henkes (The Birthday Room) explores key issues of adolescence, through the observations of aspiring 12-year-old writer Martha Boyle. In the opening scene on an August morning in Madison, Wis., Martha receives a visitor: the mother of her classmate Olive Barstow, who was hit by a car the month before. The woman hands Martha a journal entry, in which Olive describes her own wish to be a writer and to "get to know Martha Boyle next year... the nicest person in my whole entire class." Since Olive kept to herself, these revelations forge an unexpected bond between Martha and this classmate she never knew. The other hope Olive confides in the entry is that she could "one day... go to a real ocean such as the Atlantic or Pacific." Martha begins an unwitting pilgrimage of sorts: she strolls with her toddler sister to the corner where Olive died and, when she goes to visit her grandmother, Godbee, on Cape Cod, Martha experiences the ocean for Olive and for herself. In brief chapters, Henkes reveals Martha's discovery of life's fleeting qualities, her deepening bond with Godbee, and her first stirrings of romantic feeling and betrayal. Readers can peer through this brief window into Martha's life and witness a maturation, as she becomes a young woman, appreciates life anew and finds a way to give something back to Olive. Ages 10-up.
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It was a good read
One of my favorite books
One of my favorite books I have ever read in my life. I have read it about 15 times and I have loved every minute
I first read this book when I was in middle school. I loved it so much that I have read it again and again continuing into high school. It's the kind of descriptive book that you want to jump into. Kevin Henkes paints a beautiful picture of the setting with his words. Would recommend to any middle school girl, or almost anyone. I will tell you one thing, by the time your done reading you will want to fill a baby jar with ocean water. Simply a beautiful story.