Brandylane Publishers, Inc., 2014. 978-1939930187
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Jessie Silva is looking forward to a great summer with her friend Amanda. But when Amanda arrives off the boat from New York with a new friend named Susan, Jessie knows that the summer is going to be completely awful. Then she finds the coyote pups and she suddenly as a special secret all her own. Turns out, Jessie isn’t the only one that has been seeing the coyotes, and all of the island residents are worried that they’re going to cause a lot of trouble.
Why I picked it up: I received a lovely email from the writer’s assistant inviting me to review the book and I am always game for a great new read, especially now that summer is in full swing!
Why I finished it: The book is a surprisingly quick read, but it grabs a hold of you right from the first page. Jessie is a girl that has been living on Bayberry Island for as long as she can remember and I instantly liked her because although she is a typical kid, she’s experiencing something atypical for most readers. Being a West Coaster, I don’t quite understand the lifestyle of the East Coasters, but it was easy for me to relate to Jessie’s situation with her family and her friends. She’s trying to keep everything the same even as her whole world feels like it’s about to explode at any second. She wants to be able to spend the summer with Amanda, but Susan is always around. Plus, her older friend Lara is going away to college in the fall and Jessie is feeling more and more alone. I really liked how Solod wove the plot of the story around the beautiful but isolated setting of a island off the New England coastline. It’s a very picturesque location that reminded me of the vacations my family liked to take to the beach when I was younger. Solod is so appreciative of the way of life of the islanders and the natural ecosystems of the island itself that the setting almost acts as another character in the story. It’s a book that speaks to the frustrations of change, growing up, and the importance of preserving wildlife that can be appreciated by readers of all ages.
Other related materials: Island Eyes, Island Skies by Richard Henry Levine; Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson; The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson; The Tillerman Cycle books by Cynthia Voigt; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor; Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech; Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool; Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan; Baby by Patricia MacLachlan; Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker; The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen