Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sand dollar summer

Sand dollar summer

Kimberly K. Jones
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2006   ISBN: 1416958347

Lise is very content with her life. At long last her mother has agreed that the family can stay in one place for a minimum of five years and Lise is starting to make friends. Then Lise’s mother, Annalise, is gravely injured in a car accident. For a while Lise, her brother Free, and their frail and crippled mother make the best of things in their lovely new house; then, after a while, Annalise announces that they are going to spend the summer at the beach in Maine, in the place where Annalise grew up. They will rent a house and hopefully the break will help Annalise to begin the process of healing.

Lise is horrified when they get to the beach house. It is run down and nothing like her own comfortable home. The island where they are staying has little to offer in the way of entertainment and Lise does not like the ocean at all. It is too cold to swim in and it makes her feel unsettled and insecure. To make matters worse Annalise is distant and not at all like herself. Lise wonders what is happening to her beloved mother. Why has she brought them to this awful place and when will they be able to go home? When will their lives get back to the way they were before the accident happened?

In this novel the author explores how a drastic change can affect a young girl. She does not understand the changes her mother is going through and is angry because much of what is familiar and what makes her feel secure is no longer there. She also meets people who challenge her to adjust her way of thinking, and in the process she learns a great deal about herself and about others.

This superbly written, thought provoking, and often very moving book is a joy to read, and the ideas that it brings forth will stay with the reader long after the book is finished.