FICTION

The Summer of Broken Things

400p. S. & S. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481417648.
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Gr 7 Up—Avery Armistead and Kayla Butts are an unlikely pair. Avery, a privileged snob, wishes only to spend the summer at soccer camp with her best friends. When her dad cooks up a scheme to bring her along on an extended business trip to Spain, Avery desperately pleads to stay home. Without the bonds made at soccer camp, how will she be in the "right" crowd when she starts school in September? When her dad explains further that they're bringing along Kayla, a family friend, Avery fights even harder. Despite her protestations, the trip moves forward and she grudgingly finds herself in Spain with Kayla, a girl who is definitely not from the "right" crowd. In Spain, they learn just how intricately their fates are intertwined and are forced to truly look at themselves for the first time. In the hands of a less seasoned author, this story (told in alternating chapters by Avery and Kayla), might have felt simultaneously unlikely and cliched. In Haddix's able hands, however, it proves a compelling coming-of-age novel. Readers will be drawn into both protagonist's lives, rooting for Avery to learn an ounce of empathy and for Kayla to gain confidence in the same measure. Both characters develop past their initial caricatures and when the drama and action pick up closer to the book's end, readers will find themselves quite satisfied.
VERDICT A strong choice for most YA shelves.

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