Breaking into Sunlight

Algonquin. Jun. 2024. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781523527298.
Gr 5-8–Cochran’s debut delivers a poignant, relatable read. Seventh grader Reese has become an expert at concealing his father’s pain medication addiction and the problems it’s causing between his parents. Even his best friends have no idea the secrets Reese is hiding. As Reese’s world comes crashing down, his strength and tenacity are tested. To get some distance from the situation, his mother decides to take Reese with her (against his wishes), to live in a trailer on a rural property belonging to a friend. It is here that Reese begins to grapple with the feelings he’s been bottling up. He finds an unlikely friendship in two kids: Charlie, who has Down syndrome, and Charlie's older sister, Meg, orphans who live with their grandparents. Together, they explore nature and find solace in swimming and canoeing in the river that joins the property. Themes include honesty, friendship, trust, and forgiveness. All characters read as white.
VERDICT An important novel for every library to have. Readers will find they’re not alone in dealing with a loved one’s addiction, as an estimated one in eight children have a parent dealing with substance abuse.

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