I should probably start by saying how much I love the body of work produced by Kevin Henkes. I love his picture books (Kitten's First Full Moon is my steadfast baby gift--my very favorite picture book of his). And I'm crazy about all his middle school works. Previously, my favorite was OLIVE'S OCEAN, but it's now got competition--BIRD LAKE MOON. While the title is impossible to remember (honestly, I don't really love the title--I thought of several alternatives...), the story will stay with you long after you've stopped reading. This story has two main characters, two boys, and the chapter flip-flops between each character's experience (3rd person). While it confused me a few times, just briefly, I liked that very much. It gave the reader a glimpse into the family situation without having to drag us through family scenes together, does that make sense? Henkes work feels compact to me, every work perfectly placed, with nothing to spare. It definitely leaves you yearning for more. The two boys come of age over a summer (is there anything more true to life? don't we all come of age in the summer?), as they both struggle to accept difficulties in their families. Despite a two year age gap, they become fast friends. I come back to Henkes work again and again for his economy of words, character development and clever twists of language. His work is helpful for me to study as an example when I'm working on my craft. BIRD LAKE MOON is what my friend, Paula, would call a 'quiet' story, but there's nothing quiet about dealing with a drowned brother, divorcing parents, and grouchy grandparents. (I loved that the grandparents were so irritable and grouchy--much more realistic these days! ha ha)
For a nice summer read, especially for the boy in your life, try BIRD LAKE MOON. Now I asked my daughter's opinion, and she said she could never love other books again. JK Rowling has ruined it for her. Take that for what it's worth.
And yes, I should really take the time to learn how to really write a book review. I'm sure there's some kind of official format somewhere that's a lot less convoluted than my personal style. If anyone has tips, send them to me.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.