Twelve-year-old Mitch was recently informed by his parents that they are getting divorced. Spencer is visiting the lake for the first time with his family since his brother drowned there when Spencer was two. Both boys have complicated internal struggles and their friendship develops slowly.
The pace of the book is slow compared to lots of my students' favorite series, but there is lots of mystery and tension and the two main characters work through problems that I'm sure are overwhelming and scary and huge to children.
Of course the timing for me reading this book was rather serendipitous. From my current perspective I appreciated how the story dealt with the very real and legitimate issues that these boys face, and although many of these issues are related to the adults in their lives, the adults' problems are not the focus but are also not over simplified. The parents aren't portrayed as anything but real humans with complicated lives of their own. Yeh, I guess I'm oversensitive to these issues, but still appreciated the care Henkes took with his story and characters. Yes, divorce is really hard on kids, but they can get through those initial weeks and months and be okay.
What I predict kids will like: real kids dealing with very real problems.