“This book is for anyone who has ever felt ‘less than’ or on the outside. That is to say, this is a book for everyone.” —Elana K. Arnold, author of What Girls Are Made Of
"With a clear, compelling voice, Walker creates a believable world where socioeconomic tensions challenge, but never defeat, her well-rounded characters."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Claire Ladd knows that this summer is going to be special. She and her two best friends, Ronan and Brianna, are turning twelve. She is leaving camp behind and gets to do what she wants all day. She feels everything starting to change.
But things don’t always change for the better.
With Brianna’s cousin Eden visiting for the summer, Claire feels like a third wheel. Even though she is only a year older, Eden seems so much more sophisticated and glamorous . . . and when she's around, she takes up everyone’s attention, including Brianna’s.
But that doesn’t explain why things have felt awkward with Brianna ever since she moved to a fancy new house, or why Ronan, who lives in the trailer next to Claire’s, has started acting moody anytime anyone mentions his dad.
Claire has always been happy with her life just as it is, but as the summer wears on and the issues with her friends start to grow, she can’t help but wonder: Would everything be better if she could just be someone else?
Money changes everything, or at least it seems that way, in Walker's (Let's Pretend We Never Met) heartfelt, honest look at how three pals assess the cost of appearances and the value of friendship. Claire believes her summer before seventh grade is going to be epic. She's finally deemed old enough to be on her own at Twin Pines Trailer Park while her mother works. But her friend Ronan has been acting different ever since his father returned home, and her other best friend, Brianna, has settled into a big new house in a ritzy neighborhood and is hosting her glamorous cousin. Claire feels left out and jealous, and until now, she has never doubted her friends or felt embarrassed about where she lives. It's only when Ronan goes missing that Claire realizes what it means to be a true friend. With a clear, compelling voice, Walker creates a believable world where socioeconomic tensions challenge, but never defeat, her well-rounded characters. The young protagonists convey the anxiety, awkwardness, and first glints of maturity that come with being almost 12, and Claire's caring parents offer a steadfast support that help anchor the story in its satisfying, happy ending. Ages 8 12.