Stealing Air

266p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-38307-3; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-46989-0. LC 2011046290.
Gr 4–6—Reedy's novel has secrets, homemade rocket ships, romance, bullying, skateboarding, and friendship-plenty to capture the interest of readers. Sixth-grader Brian has moved to a new town in Iowa. He decides that the local skating park might be the best place to meet some kids before school starts. That's where his troubles begin. First, he out-skates the town bully, and then his heart ends up in his throat when the lone girl skater removes her helmet, leading Brian to think "This girl was an angel." Despite his rocky start, Brian finds friends and begins constructing an airplane in a secret lab with them. But will they ever get it in the air? Reedy's tween characters are mostly authentic, but he goes a bit overboard with Star Trek-loving nerd Max, whose stilted language is hard to believe. Otherwise, he nails the angst of the middle-school lunchroom, the tentativeness of a first boy-girl relationship, and the mood of a family who has pulled up their roots for a new opportunity that's not going as well as hoped. This is a solid story that will ring true to readers for many years to come.—Margo Hastings, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT

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