Ebb and Flow by Heather T. Smith | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –This touching verse novel begins with Jett headed to the East Coast to stay with his grandmother for the summer.

redstarSMITH, Heather T. Ebb and Flow. 232p. Kids Can. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781771388382.

Gr 4-6 –This touching verse novel begins with Jett headed to the East Coast to stay with his grandmother for the summer. Jett had a rough year: his father went to prison, and normally kind Jett joined forces with a bully to vent some of his anger and wound up in deep trouble for stealing from an adult with intellectual disabilities. Readers learn about Jett’s recent past through flashbacks and the stories he tells Grandma Jo. The time with his “Cotton Candy Granny” is exactly what the boy needs. They collect sea glass at the beach and Jett realizes that “even after all that battering,” the glass survives. His unconditionally loving Grandma’s influence soothes Jett’s troubled soul, and he emerges forgiven by the man he betrayed and forgives himself. Although the complete healing is somewhat idealized, this is a powerful and poetic story of emotional endurance. VERDICT Full of charm and small bits of wisdom, this redemption story will find wide ­appeal among fans of middle grade realistic fiction.–Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH

This review was published in the School Library Journal March 2018 issue.

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