My Jasper June

Walden Pond. Sept. 2019. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062836625.
Gr 4-7–Leah has spent the last year lost and alone, drifting along but not engaging with her friends or the rest of the world. Now that school is out for the summer she is not sure what to do with her time. Most of her friends are gone, her parents are more like ghosts, and she doesn’t seem to know how to fill the void that has been left in her life by the tragedy of last summer. All that changes one afternoon when she unexpectedly meets a girl named Jasper at a farm on the edge of her Atlanta suburb. When Leah is with Jasper, she forgets her sadness and remembers what it’s like to have a friend—it’s like magic. While Jasper seems to exude happiness, Leah soon realizes that Jasper’s life is not easy and that she has family struggles of her own. Leah and Jasper carve out their own hidden place at the farm, where it seems nothing can touch them, but soon their real-life struggles start creeping back in. Before long Leah discovers that she must choose between keeping Jasper’s secrets and sacrificing their friendship to keep her safe.
VERDICT A beautiful story about the healing powers of friendship in the face of tragedy and hardship, this is a must-buy for juvenile fiction collections.

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