Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teen Review: Bounce

Natasha Friend’s novel, Bounce, is about making unexpected adjustments – lots of adjustments – when just being thirteen is more than enough for a girl to deal with.

At dinner one night, Evyn’s father suddenly announces to Evyn and her fifteen-year-old brother, Mackey, that he’s getting married. Evyn’s mother died many years ago, and the three of them have been a family for a long time. But having a new mother isn’t the only big change for Evyn. Her Dad’s new wife-to-be has six kids of her own and lives in Boston, so Evyn, her brother, and her father will be moving from their home in Maine to join a whole new family. It’s a lot of change, to say the least.

Here are Evyn’s thoughts, as they pull up to the house in Boston to greet their new family:

I have to admit she looks good for a mother – somebody else’s. But not ours. Not now, not ever.

I know. She hasn’t tried to hug us yet. Smart woman. She’s playing it safe. But wait until they’re married, and she starts planting cheek kisses left and right. I give her three weeks before she says, You can call me Mom now, honey. And while you’re at it, scrub the toilet bowl.

That’s what happened to Tamara Schacter, this girl I know. The minute her dad got remarried, Kiki the Stepmonster took over her entire life and destroyed it.

If anything like that happens here, I will run away, which would make Jules very happy, I can tell you. I would go back to Maine and live with her. I have no clue how I’d get there, since I have exactly three dollars to my name. But I’d find a way, that much I promise you. I would definitely find a way.

Evyn moves into a new room that she shares with two of her new sisters, starts a new school in a new city, and struggles to meet new friends, all the while trying desperately to hold onto her old life, which she liked very much. It’d be a tough adjustment for anyone, and Evyn is also trying to adjust to being a teenager and sharing her father with a whole new family.

I really enjoyed reading Evyn’s story, filled with her own warmth, humor, and anxiety. As you might expect, things don’t turn out to be quite so bad as Evyn expects, but to say anymore would ruin the book’s wonderful ups and downs. This is a coming-of-age story with a twist – lots of them, actually – that teen girls (and older preteens as well) will thoroughly enjoy.

Scholastic, 188 pages

Accelerated Reader level 3.3, 5 points

1 comment:

Andrea said...

It sounds like a good book. That is tough to have your dad remarry and then have to move and get all those step-siblings.