Synopses & Reviews
A story about small acts of courage from the author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect. Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potlucks apprentice, shell have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth graders. But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Matties plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.
“With the same deftness she demonstrated in THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE, Graff immediately engages the reader.” Horn Book Magazine
“Umbrella Summer is a radiant book.” & #151;Kirby Larson, author of Newberry Honor book Hattie Big Sky
“Graff has created a lively, quirky individual who tells her story with frankness and humor.” School Library Journal
“An appealing and moving choice for readers seeking a dose of feel-good reality fiction.” Kirkus Reviews
* "This outstanding, emotionally resonant effort will appeal to middle-grade readers."—Kirkus, starred review
* "Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect) traces a highly self-conscious child's cautious emergence from her shell in this tender novel about new beginnings and "small brave" acts... Urban's understated, borderline naïf narrative gives voice to Mattie's many uncertainties ("Always Mattie has been shy. Always school had made her feel skittish and small") while expressing the quiet yet significant moments in her day-to-day life. Mattie's growing trust of others and her attempts to be "bold and friendly" lead to gratifying rewards for Mattie and poignant moments for readers."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Internal drama, compelling characters, and Matties strong voice propel the story of learning to do "a small brave thing."—Booklist
* "There are many books that offer adventure and twists and unusual story lines. Most of them do not offer young readers such fine writing and real characters. That is hook enough."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Kids struggling with the challenges of identifying what changes are necessary and paying the price for those thrust upon them will be glad to see an author who gets it." —Bulletin, starred review
“An achingly honest story about love, family, friends, and non-friends. (Spoiler alert: There's also an adorable boy with sky blue eyes . . . )”—Lauren Myracle, New York Times best-selling author of ttyl
“Vernick's writing is beautiful, her characters well-rounded and believable, and the coming of age situations and emotions are spot on.”—Kathryn Erskine, author of the National Book Award winner Mockingbird “Tender and true, anchored by heartbreak and buoyed by love, Water Balloon is a sweet summertime celebration of the unforgettable moments that change everything. ”—Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling-author of Tantalize, Eternal, and Blessed “A funny, poignant, beautifully written story about family, first love, and the joy and pain of girls friendships, reminiscent of Lynne Rae Perkins All Alone in the Universe. I was really caught up in the world Vernick created; in Marley's own words, ‘it is amazingly, fantastically real. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!”—Joanne Rocklin, author of One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street “Tweens will relate to this heartfelt story of a girl who is struggling to navigate the many changes in her life that seem to greet her at every turn.”—Lisa Schroeder, author of Its Raining Cupcakes “Marley Baird is a lovely protagonist with an engaging voice, and readers will wish they could be her best friend and help her cope with all of lifes uncertainty, aggravation, and heartache. They will recognize their own struggles in Marleys and cheer her on as she finds her way.”—Gina Willner-Pardo, author of The Hard Kind of Promise “Water Balloon is breathtakingly luminous. From the start, readers will root for Marley, an unforgettable and authentic heroine; we *know* this girl, our heart breaks with hers, we laugh with her, and we want to be her friend for life. Vernick's lyrical and astonishingly perceptive prose tells this captivating story of friendship, love, and resilience with honesty, grace, and power. This book is the real thing—I want to hug it daily!”—Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of 8th Grade Superzero “Vernick makes a very auspicious fiction debut here with her breezy, briskly paced tale, well-portrayed characters, authentic relationships and keen ear for realistic dialogue. . . . preteen female readers will eat this up and learn a wise and wistful thing or two about friendships, including when and how to walk away and start new ones. . . . a harbinger of more good novels to come from this author.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Put this book on your "must-have" list. It wont stay on the shelves long."—School Library Journal, starred review
"Vernick conveys Marley's uncertain navigation of new experiences and conflicting emotions with sincerity and keen perception."—Publishers Weekly
Annie Richards knows there are a million things to look out for—bicycle accidents, chicken pox, runaway zoo animals. That's why being careful is so important, even if it does mean giving up some of her favorite things, like bike races with her best friend and hot dogs on the Fourth of July. Everyone keeps telling Annie not to worry so much, that she's just fine. But they thought her brother, Jared, was just fine too, and Jared died.
It takes a new neighbor to make Annie realize that her plans for being careful aren't working out as well as she'd hoped. And with a lot of help from those around her, Annie just may find a way to close her umbrella of sadness and step back into the sunshine.
Acclaimed author Linda Urban captures the sweet humor and tenderness of finding one's voice and making a friend, even when that seems impossible.
A warm debut novel about friendship and first love.
Marleys life is as precarious as an overfull water balloon—one false move and everything will burst. Her best friends are pulling away from her, and her parents, newly separated, have decided she should spend the summer with her dad in his new house, with a job she didnt ask for and certainly doesnt want. On the upside is a cute boy who loves dogs as much as Marley does . . . but young love has lots of opportunity for humiliation and misinterpreted signals. Luckily Marley is a girl who trusts her instincts and knows the truth when she sees it, making her an immensely appealing character and her story funny, heartfelt, and emotionally true.
About the Author
Linda Urban's debut novel, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, was a BookSense pick, a New York Public Library Best Book for Reading and Sharing, and was nominated for twenty state awards. A former independent bookseller at Vroman's in Pasadena, California, she now writes full time in Montpelier, Vermont, where she lives with her family. Visit her website at www.lindaurbanbooks.com