Half Moon Summer

Peachtree. Jun. 2023. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781682635391.
Gr 5-8–Mia and Drew were born on the same day in the same California hospital, but don’t meet up again until the summer before eighth grade when they discover that they have even more in common. Drew is feeling in-between—old enough to babysit his toddler sister, but not old enough to work in his father’s woodshop. His best friend Isaac has moved away and he’s worried about some upsetting news his parents are keeping from him. Mia is also in-between. She and her family moved out of their apartment and are staying with her grandmother for the summer while her dad is in Alaska, taking care of his ailing mother. Mia wants her grandma to get better so that her dad can come home and finish work on the house that he is building for them. The pair initially bonds over music and messy younger siblings, but, over the course of the summer, they encourage and challenge each other to take the next step—literally, in training for a half-marathon and also in how to be a good friend, how to say the right thing, and how to keep going even when it’s hard or lonely. Drew’s first-person narration is direct with a self-aware and humorous tone. Mia tells her story in compact lines of free verse, filling the pages of a notebook that her father gave her to record everything that happens while he’s away. Vickers presents issues of loss, financial instability, and serious illness with a realistic but gentle touch.
VERDICT A sensitive, heartfelt story of friendship and growing up. Highly recommended.

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