The Line Tender
The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, preparing to swim with a Great White, when she died suddenly. Lucy was eight. Since then Lucy and her father have done OK—thanks in large part to her best friend, Fred, and a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a Great White—and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was “meaningful” but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother’s unfinished research. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she’ll finally be able to look beyond what she’s lost and toward what’s left to be discovered.

The Line Tender Details

TitleThe Line Tender
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 16th, 2019
PublisherDutton
ISBN-139780735231603
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Science

The Line Tender Review

  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at page 23 because the writing is abysmal.
  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    "My grief for her was like a circle. I always came around to missing her again."The Line Tender resonated deeply with me right from the start. The first time I saw the cover and read the book I somehow knew exactly what I was in for. Not plotwise, simply the overall feeling. It's a sorrowful and hopeful, quiet and ultimately tender story.At the centre of the story is Lucy, who loves her dad and misses her mum, a marine biologist with a passion for sharks. Her best friend, Fred, is the coolest gu "My grief for her was like a circle. I always came around to missing her again."The Line Tender resonated deeply with me right from the start. The first time I saw the cover and read the book I somehow knew exactly what I was in for. Not plotwise, simply the overall feeling. It's a sorrowful and hopeful, quiet and ultimately tender story.At the centre of the story is Lucy, who loves her dad and misses her mum, a marine biologist with a passion for sharks. Her best friend, Fred, is the coolest guy on earth. There is a moment when Lucy gets her first period, so she runs across the street to Fred's house because he's got two older sisters and a mother that could help her out. But Fred is home alone so he matter-of-factly hands her something against period pain and stays cool in a situation that would easily freak out any other boy that age - and many adult men as well. Anyway, Lucy and Fred work on a project for school, a field guide where they document all the living things they find around town, especially on the beach. Lucy is the artist; she studies the creature and draws it while Fred is responsible for the research; he adds all the necessary information. And when a shark turns up at the coast, Lucy's adventure is just beginning.What struck me the most is that this book sends such a simple message without having to spell it out: be kind. Maybe that's just what I personally take away from it, but it's there. There is not a single person in this book that is unkind. Even though there is grief and loss, even though people make small and big mistakes, every word and gesture carries kindness. This sounds like utopia but it was exactly the right tone for the story. People simply cared for one another, and it filled my heart with warmth.This is such a great book for children and parents alike. I would recommend it for kids age 10+ because it does get quite complex at times, but I know that they will love Lucy, her friends and family just as much as I did. Not only does it feature a myriad of role models, like female scientists and artists, it's also a touching story about friendship and loss. Furthermore, it talks about anxiety and how it's okay to not always be okay. AND you learn so many cool things about sharks. I immediately wanted to watch shark documentaries and learn even more about them.This book can't get any better but I still have to mention Xingye Jin, who did the cover art and the illustrations inside the book. I've only read an eGalley of the book, which wasn't ideal when it came to the shark drawings, but they were breathtaking.Many thanks to Penguin Random House International for providing me with an eGalley in exchange for an honest review.Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Having been a children's librarian for over 20 years, it's very rare for me to say that there's a new book unlike any I've read so far, but in this case, it's absolutely true. Kids are crazy about sharks. I'm crazy about sharks. So when this galley landed on my desk, with it's stunning, shark-filled cover and even more shark illustrations within, I was already in. But then the story and the characters took over and I couldn't help but fall in love with all of them: the heartbreaking Lucy who you Having been a children's librarian for over 20 years, it's very rare for me to say that there's a new book unlike any I've read so far, but in this case, it's absolutely true. Kids are crazy about sharks. I'm crazy about sharks. So when this galley landed on my desk, with it's stunning, shark-filled cover and even more shark illustrations within, I was already in. But then the story and the characters took over and I couldn't help but fall in love with all of them: the heartbreaking Lucy who you just want to wrap up in a hug and tell that everything's going to be okay, Fred who has an unquenchable thirst to know everything about the world and how it works, Mr. Patterson on his porch with his police scanner and doling out words of wisdom at just the right moments, and even Sookie, the rough-edged fisherman who is really just a softie deep down. It's a book about loss and how we cope with it as individuals and as a community and how we are each important parts of our own local ecosystems. I loved this book, and it's very early, but it's going on my list for Newbery consideration for 2020. Well done, Ms. Allen. I can't wait to see what you write next. Review from galley.
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  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    There’s this song from the musical of Matilda that keeps going through my head when I read The Line Tender. Have you ever had a song get caught in your head because of an ironic connection? I’m sitting here, contemplating Kate Allen’s quiet, thoughtful, contemplative novel and then the lyrics from the song “Loud” appear in my brain. They say, “The less you have to sell, the harder you sell it / The less you have to say, the louder you yell it / The dumber the act, the bigger the confession / The There’s this song from the musical of Matilda that keeps going through my head when I read The Line Tender. Have you ever had a song get caught in your head because of an ironic connection? I’m sitting here, contemplating Kate Allen’s quiet, thoughtful, contemplative novel and then the lyrics from the song “Loud” appear in my brain. They say, “The less you have to sell, the harder you sell it / The less you have to say, the louder you yell it / The dumber the act, the bigger the confession / The less you have to show the louder you dress it.” If you’re unfamiliar with the show that’s the awful mother’s reasoning behind choosing pizzazz over brains. A lot of things sold to kids are easily slotted into the “pizzazz” category, and that’s not a bad thing. I love the loud and the flashy just as much as a 10-year-old might. That said, I also know that there’s a time and a place for loud and flashy literature, and there’s a time and place for intelligent, subdued writing. Not every middle grade novel out there has to have big set pieces, violent encounters, a roaring climax and a celebratory conclusion. There are books for kids that dare to be more thoughtful than pulse pounding. And if chosen freely by a child, they can unlock something inside. Something that means more to the person reading than anyone else. The Line Tender carries this promise in its pages. It's the right book for the right reader.When Lucy’s mom died, she was just seven-years-old. A lot of time has passed since then and the girl has grown up in the sleepy tourist town of Rockport, Mass. In the summer Lucy and her best friend Fred spend their days working on their extra credit field guide. When a large shark is captured close to the shore, Lucy thinks of her mother’s work as a marine biologist and shark expert. But why are the sharks moving so close to humans these days? If there’s an answer to that mystery, Lucy’s not seeing it. She’d rather enjoy the summer and her time with Fred. Yet when tragedy hits Lucy a second time, she finds solace not just in the field guide but in her mother’s old work. By hook or by crook, Lucy will see to it that her mother’s plans are not left undone. And along the way, she might just be able to help the three men in her life move on from grief, in their own ways, as well. I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating that this isn’t a book that moves at a rapid clip. Recently I finished reading Eugene Yelchin’s Spyrunner which was so fast paced I couldn’t help but feel that if it physically touched a copy of The Line Tender, the two books would explode upon contact. As I read this book I tried to figure out what it might be about. A dead shark. No, wait, a missing dead shark. Must be a dead shark mystery novel. Wait, what’s that? They figured out it dropped into the sea? Huh. Okay, not a mystery. It wasn’t until the big reveal on page 109 that all the pieces fell into place. Once that happened, I felt a little more relaxed. It helped that I got keen on Allen’s turns of phrase. Lines like “I walked across the creaky floors to look out the window. In the light of the streetlamp, the leaves were bending upside down like it was going to rain.” Or, “There were three things on my mind, tangled up like necklaces in a jewelry box…” Or, “Goose bumps covered my back like a cape.” Here’s a good one: “Fred’s backpack sat like a peeled banana on the step.” And her science teacher’s bad drawings, “looked like preschool illustrations that someone had poked a hole in and deflated.” Sometimes it did feel like Ms. Allen was pushing things, like when she named her main character Lucy Everhart (a tiny bit on the nose with that one, don’t you think?). But for the most part, it was a relief to encounter an author unafraid to use her words. Is it wrong that I’d hesitate to call this book “funny” (grief’s a helluva buzz kill)? Because while it’s no chucklefest, there are real moments of humor. Take, for example, the moment when Lucy spots her father, naked, in the side yard, pulling on his wetsuit. Not a page later her neighbor, Mr. Patterson says, “Hello, Lucy… Your father has a hairy keister.” “Yes, he does.” “I don’t like looking at it.” “No, sir.” End of chapter. What's interesting about some of the book's lighter moments is that I wouldn’t say they lighten the grief any. There’s lots of sadness here, but interestingly enough it didn’t feel depressing to me. Maybe that’s the advantage of having a pro-active protagonist. Lucy thinks and questions and acts. At one point she hears the advice that her mom used to give, “Don’t resist pain.” It’s meant to say that you shouldn’t repress your feelings, but Lucy hits the nail on the head when she responds, “I’ve been feeling pain all summer… Now what?” The answer is yelled from the formerly sleeping Mr. Patterson. “Adapt! Adjust!” Chew on that one a while, kids. Clocking it at an impressive 350+ pages, The Line Tender looks impressive. Weighty. Like it’s making a pass at becoming the Moby Dick of middle grade. However, even a cursory glance will show you two things. First, much of the book is broken into exceedingly small chapters. Second, between a lot of those chapters are two-page spreads of sharks drawn in graphite. As you read the book you realize that these are meant to be Lucy’s art. The sophistication almost makes this unbelievable, but there’s just enough sketch to them to not completely go off the rails. Though credited nowhere on the cover or title page, this art is the work of artist Xingye Jin of Suzhou, China. Remember when I said the book wasn’t depressing in spite of its content? I think the art and the chapter lengths do a lot to keep a person from dwelling in grief. It’s natural to consider and contemplate grief, but dwelling on it, particularly in a book for young readers, runs the risk of drowning your narrative in sorrow. There is a quote at the beginning of the book from Rachel Carson that was expertly chosen. It reads, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” Turn the page and you see the first sketched shark of the book. And with every shark you encounter on these pages, there is a comfort to them. A repeated refrain of nature to get the reader through.No kid is going to obsess like an adult reader over little things like time and place, but for a while there I may have had some difficulty immediately soaking in Allen’s words because I couldn’t figure out when the dang book took place. There are no cell phones, but people don’t really seem to use much outdated technology (at first). The price of candy seemed low, and VHS tapes were prevalent, but that didn’t really explain anything to me. Clearly Allen was setting the story in a pre-internet and cell phones era, but when? It was only when we discover that Lucy’s mother died in 1991 that you realize that this is a historical tale of the late 90s. After that, I was good to go.Somehow or other Ms. Allen has the fortitude to withstand invoking the movie Jaws for a good 311 pages. For a book about great white sharks moving into areas where there are potentially swimming people, this feels like an act of resistance. Now I’ve mentioned that the book isn’t going to break any speed records, but a lot of that may be because at its heart this is a book that cares deeply about science, nature, and the natural world. This is a book for those kids that could patiently track data, sketch in silence, or exist in the outdoors for great lengths of time. It’s a book about family, the one you have and the one you choose. It’s also about grief, and time, and the different ways that we learn to cope. Do I wish the beginning cut through the treacle and got to the point of the book faster? Maybe a little. I don’t know that my ten-year-old self would have had the patience to keep with it. But if she had, if she’d stuck it through, I think she would have found a lot to love and enjoy. A book where science can be a balm. For ages 10 and up.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes, you read about a book and it is so precisely your kind of book that you know without even reading it you'll love it. Such was the case with THE LINE TENDER, a debut middle grade coming from Dutton next spring. This book combines so many of my favorite things: a small seaside town, ocean life, grizzled fishermen, sweet preteen friendships, coming of age, and grief.Kate Allen writes in a sparsely lyrical, straightforward voice; Lucy's discomfort in her own new-feeling body, her frustrat Sometimes, you read about a book and it is so precisely your kind of book that you know without even reading it you'll love it. Such was the case with THE LINE TENDER, a debut middle grade coming from Dutton next spring. This book combines so many of my favorite things: a small seaside town, ocean life, grizzled fishermen, sweet preteen friendships, coming of age, and grief.Kate Allen writes in a sparsely lyrical, straightforward voice; Lucy's discomfort in her own new-feeling body, her frustrated attempts to make sense of the things happening in her world, are infinitely relatable. Although the main events of the story are devastating and horrific, Allen manages to keep a light touch, infusing the book with wonder and hope alongside the sorrow. The story unfolds deliberately—not a breakneck read, but also hard to put down, in a way that reminded me of a Rebecca Stead novel. If you love the kind of heartfelt, thoughtful middle grade stories that balance heartbreak and hope, keep an eye out for this one next spring!(Do be aware that this is definitely upper middle grade, suitable for 10+—there's a little bit of language as well as some preteen drinking.)
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  • Erin Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    This was a poignant novel. It reminded me of The Thing About Jellyfish, which is one of my favorite books. The interior illustrations were beautiful. <3
  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    Synopsis: Lucy loses her marine-biologist mom when she's young. The summer she's 12, her best friend (who happens to be a boy) dies. Which is pretty predictable. And then there's sharks. PLENTY OF SPOILERS AHEAD.There was a lot that just didn't mesh up in this book for me. First off, the time period is very hazy. At first I thought it was modern day, and it's 100 pages in before we realize that it's all taking place in the mid-'90s. There's this weird "this is what a real woman looks like" conve Synopsis: Lucy loses her marine-biologist mom when she's young. The summer she's 12, her best friend (who happens to be a boy) dies. Which is pretty predictable. And then there's sharks. PLENTY OF SPOILERS AHEAD.There was a lot that just didn't mesh up in this book for me. First off, the time period is very hazy. At first I thought it was modern day, and it's 100 pages in before we realize that it's all taking place in the mid-'90s. There's this weird "this is what a real woman looks like" conversation between Lucy and a friend that comes out of nowhere -- seriously, they're just in a comic book store, looking at comics, and the friend tells Lucy "Real women don't look like that." Which first off, I've always had issue with the "REAL" women discussion. We're all REAL. Anyway, later on, it's shown that this friend has kind of been an older sister figure to Lucy, so this conversation makes more sense -- but we don't have that info at the time of the convo at all, and it feels very random. Then there are callbacks to it throughout the book, again, even though it didn't seem very important or like the characters were dealing with some deep-seated issues there. Of course, the big crux of the story was obviously going to be Fred dying. Saw it coming from page 1. But it was a weird situation and I didn't get how it happened. He jumped into the quarry, came back up, was fine, and then...got trapped by a tree? How did that happen? And I also saw that they were going to end up together if he hadn't died -- except Lucy didn't? So she's spending all this time trying to figure out what's happening, and were they going to be more than just friends, and I'm like "um duh girl." Everyone knew that was going to happen. Pretty dang obvious there. Let's get back to the story. Which is...you somehow need to find your mom's old study because of closure or something? And everyone is treating the study as though it's this huge mystery to be solved when...couldn't you just READ it to figure out what she was proposing? And then talk to the local other marine biologists to see if they'd heard of it (because um, they probably did, and huh, turns out that they've actually been working with it for years and it truly isn't a mystery and you took half the book to find out what they'd known all along)?And you're weirdly terrified of sharks even though your mom obviously taught you plenty about how noble and magnificent they are, and your mom didn't even die from being eaten by a shark, so where'd this fear come from?My copy was an ARC and maybe some of these concerns will be fixed in the final edition, but here goes: Some of the writing felt very disjointed, like the writing didn't match up with what the author was intending to have happen or describe. There's a scene where Lucy's having a conversation with Fred's mom; everything seems perfectly normal and then suddenly Lucy's sobbing. Then the writing makes it seem like everything's back to normal. And then she's crying. Like, the words and descriptions on the page didn't convey the entire scene the way it was playing out in the author's head. (I understand that grief manifests differently from person to person, but this wasn't a grief thing. It was a writing thing.) Also, another scene: she's looking for her dad, who hollers that he's down in the basement. She goes down into the basement. And he's startled to see her there. ???A lot of really bizarre similes: "it made a noise like a tub of Vaseline falling into the toilet." "...the way strangers hang around, useless, like when someone has had a seizure in a grocery store." "The smell was pungent, like opening a fridge that contained a rotting animal." Very descriptive, but these are coming from our 12-year-old narrator. How many 12-year-olds have seen multiple people have seizures in a grocery store? Or opened fridges with rotting animals inside?!It had a very sweet ending, but the whole rest of the book just felt very awkward to me.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    A very awkward read that should have been young-adult due to the content despite the 12 year old protagonist that acted 8 or 9. The reader starts the story thinking it takes place in today's time, but at the 30% mark it's revealed that the year is around 1996 which put the story into a different perspective. All dialogue was stilted and awkward with characters acting like dolls instead of being lifelike. The twist comes when Lucy and her best friend Fred hang out with Fred's older sisters in the A very awkward read that should have been young-adult due to the content despite the 12 year old protagonist that acted 8 or 9. The reader starts the story thinking it takes place in today's time, but at the 30% mark it's revealed that the year is around 1996 which put the story into a different perspective. All dialogue was stilted and awkward with characters acting like dolls instead of being lifelike. The twist comes when Lucy and her best friend Fred hang out with Fred's older sisters in the evening. His older sisters (16 and 17) hang with some boys and they venture to a rock quarry in the dark. The teens pass around alcohol and let the 12 year olds get drunk (along with themselves). They all decide to go for a swim and Fred drowns.The drowning was supposed to be the pivotal point that drew emotion from the reader, but I felt nothing. That's what happens when drunk teenagers give children alcohol. They needed to understand the consequences. Moving on from my bitter heart, the story included facts about sharks and other marine life and I liked how it took place near the Cape in Massachusetts. The characters were the downfall since everything Lucy did was impulsive and her dad and family friends just went along with it. She used her deceased mother's research proposal on sharks to accept that Fred and her mom were really gone, and that was it.Thanks Edelweiss for the ARC.
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  • Jessie_Book
    January 1, 1970
    This book is beautiful inside and out. I honestly have a huge fear of sharks and always will, but now I have a little bit more appreciation for them (though this book is not entirely about sharks). Even with my fear of sharks I loved just about everything in this book. Its more of a character driven book with sweet moment between people who are grieving and those who had drifted away. This is a sweet simple book that will tug at your heart strings yet leave a smile on your face.
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  • Monica Edinger
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, a confession --- I tend to run the other way with "tender," "poignant," and "grief" in books for any age, especially if they are more or less contemporary. That said, I'd heard such praise for this title that I knew I had to read it. And having done so I completely understand the enthusiasm, while also having to say it still wasn't for me. The book is quiet, reflective, introspective, full of small moments, and long, long, long. I realize that when I do fall for this sort of book I First of all, a confession --- I tend to run the other way with "tender," "poignant," and "grief" in books for any age, especially if they are more or less contemporary. That said, I'd heard such praise for this title that I knew I had to read it. And having done so I completely understand the enthusiasm, while also having to say it still wasn't for me. The book is quiet, reflective, introspective, full of small moments, and long, long, long. I realize that when I do fall for this sort of book I tend to appreciate tighter and shorter, a good example being Kevin Henkes' Sweeping the Heart, also out this year. Both authors are exploring grief, both books are melancholy, but while this one feels just too much (for me, mind you), Henkes' feels just right. So there you are.
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  • Lauren Reed
    January 1, 1970
    “The Line Tender” written by Kate Allen is a soul-stirring upper middle grade novel that takes place in coastal Rockport, Massachusetts and follows almost 13 year old Lucy as she navigates her world without her mother by her side. Great white sharks permeate this heartening narrative bringing exciting facts and a bit of mystery around the sharks reemergence so far north.Lucy, nor her father have quite come to terms with her mother’s unexpected death 5 years ago, but this generations old fishing “The Line Tender” written by Kate Allen is a soul-stirring upper middle grade novel that takes place in coastal Rockport, Massachusetts and follows almost 13 year old Lucy as she navigates her world without her mother by her side. Great white sharks permeate this heartening narrative bringing exciting facts and a bit of mystery around the sharks reemergence so far north.Lucy, nor her father have quite come to terms with her mother’s unexpected death 5 years ago, but this generations old fishing community has enveloped them with warmth and kindness and now have become a new sort of family. And especially Fred, Lucy’s very best friend, who’s a smart, (marine biology enthusiast (just like Lucy’s mom).He’s also a kindhearted, old soul and not afraid to hand Lucy a box of Midol when she shows up at his front door having just gotten her first period.Unfortunately, when tragedy touches this close knit community again, old wounds are made new. But the people unite again, brought together by the uptick in sightings of great white sharks, as well as a link strengthened by such a strong communal history.This book is chock full of oceanography, marine biology and shark facts (and beautiful sketches) and makes a superb living book. Thank you Penguin Kids publishing for sending us this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Kim McGee
    January 1, 1970
    A middle-grade coming of age story about a very resilient girl trying to make sense of her mother's death, her father's pulling back from the world and the sudden loss of her best friend. There are so many things a young girl has to deal with - her feelings towards boys, changes in her body and her independence from her parents but Lucy could not have been more unprepared to deal with this or anything else after she loses her best friend (and potential boyfriend) just a few years after losing he A middle-grade coming of age story about a very resilient girl trying to make sense of her mother's death, her father's pulling back from the world and the sudden loss of her best friend. There are so many things a young girl has to deal with - her feelings towards boys, changes in her body and her independence from her parents but Lucy could not have been more unprepared to deal with this or anything else after she loses her best friend (and potential boyfriend) just a few years after losing her mom. Thankfully, she lives in a small town that takes care of their own. In dealing with her grief, Lucy becomes obsessed with finishing the work on a study of sharks that her scientist mom began. As she investigates the shark study, she learns more about her mom and finds a way to overcome her loss. Not only is this a great book for anyone who is fascinated by sharks but it is also a heartwarming book about loss, love and handling grief in your own way. Lucy is a force of nature and one of the toughest kids I have ever read about. The shark pencil sketches are an added bonus. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.
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  • CompletelyBooked
    January 1, 1970
    The Line Tender gives a different and unique view on handling grief from a child’s perspective. I’m not going to lie, the whole plot point with the sharks occasionally felt a bit out of place. It was a sweet story, but at times I found it was like trying to stuff a piece of a puzzle into a completely different puzzle. However, I really liked the way that they handled discussing and dealing with grief after the loss of someone close. Even if this book isn’t one that I was head over heels for, I t The Line Tender gives a different and unique view on handling grief from a child’s perspective. I’m not going to lie, the whole plot point with the sharks occasionally felt a bit out of place. It was a sweet story, but at times I found it was like trying to stuff a piece of a puzzle into a completely different puzzle. However, I really liked the way that they handled discussing and dealing with grief after the loss of someone close. Even if this book isn’t one that I was head over heels for, I think it’s a a one of a kind story that will capture the hearts of many people.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful book that talks about the weirdness and confusing path that grief and the grieving process take. I will recommend this to adults and kids at chapter book reading level. It talks about emotions in a fantastic way and gives kids tools to use to help figure out and discuss their emotions with adults.The story itself was wonderful as well. Lots of detail and little tributaries to follow, complex like real life.
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  • Katra
    January 1, 1970
    An absorbing coming of age tale of a girl in turmoil. Tragedy has struck twice in Lucy's life and nobody is coping with it well. Her father is withdrawn. She can't eat. Her neighbor is lashing out. With no one to talk to about her grief, Lucy starts writing postcards with no stamp or address and begins looking seriously into the life works of those she has lost. This is a lovely tale of love and loss, friendship and fish guts, grief and growth.
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  • Librariann
    January 1, 1970
    I can see why librarians like this, because it feels like the heir to Katherine Paterson during her Newbery era. The writing is beautiful and spare, and while the characters felt very REAL, they didn't feel entirely plausible. The imagery was so vivid that reading this was like watching an independent movie, but the plotting also felt like an independent movie, with quick cuts and abrupt transitions. I liked it, even as I'm still forming opinions on it. Will kids like it? Maybe those who liked T I can see why librarians like this, because it feels like the heir to Katherine Paterson during her Newbery era. The writing is beautiful and spare, and while the characters felt very REAL, they didn't feel entirely plausible. The imagery was so vivid that reading this was like watching an independent movie, but the plotting also felt like an independent movie, with quick cuts and abrupt transitions. I liked it, even as I'm still forming opinions on it. Will kids like it? Maybe those who liked The Thing About Jellyfish. (I liked The Thing About Jellyfish.) But the narrative felt like looking at childhood through the lens of adulthood, and I don't know if that will have the most middle-grade appeal.
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  • Debbie Tanner
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really sad story about Lucy who is dealing with a loss. She's trying to reconnect with her mom, who was a successful scientist who studied sharks. It's a remarkably complicated story for this fairly simple plot line and although I liked the story, there are some themes of romance and teen life that would make it the wrong choice for my elementary school library.
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  • Richie Partington
    January 1, 1970
    Richie’s Picks: THE LINE TENDER by Kate Allen, Dutton, April 2019, 384p., ISBN: 978-0-7352-3160-3“We’re off to see the WizardThe wonderful Wizard of OzWe hear he is a whiz of a wiz If ever a wiz there was”-- Judy Garland, et al. (1939)“Have you ever wondered why you don’t see great white sharks in an aquarium? It’s not the size surely, we keep orcas captive - so why not great whites?One of the last attempts to put a great white into captivity was at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan last ye Richie’s Picks: THE LINE TENDER by Kate Allen, Dutton, April 2019, 384p., ISBN: 978-0-7352-3160-3“We’re off to see the WizardThe wonderful Wizard of OzWe hear he is a whiz of a wiz If ever a wiz there was”-- Judy Garland, et al. (1939)“Have you ever wondered why you don’t see great white sharks in an aquarium? It’s not the size surely, we keep orcas captive - so why not great whites?One of the last attempts to put a great white into captivity was at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan last year. It died within just three days. Before this, there have been dozens of equally depressing attempts to put great white sharks on display for the public…Great whites and aquariums simply do not end well. There are a few theories why these ‘tough guys of the oceans’ fare so poorly in captivity...”-- Tom Hale, IFL Science, “Here’s Why You’ll Never See A Great White Shark In An Aquarium” (8/5/17)It’s Saturday night, and twelve year-old Lucy has packed her books and art supplies. She’s heading over to Fred’s house so they can work on their summer vacation extra credit field guide project. Besides being best friends since they were babies, they are a great team for this fun enterprise. Fred’s strength is science and Lucy is a budding artist.“I knocked on the front door, but there was no answer, so I let myself in and pounded upstairs. If I knew what I was doing, I could have put together four complete outfits from all of the clothing and jewelry strewn on the hallway floor. I followed the music on the radio to the open bathroom door. Bridget sat on the toilet lid, lacquering her nails with ballet pink, the radio perched behind her on top of the tank. Fiona curled her eyelashes in the mirror. They were Irish twins, seventeen and sixteen.‘Hi, Lu,’ said Bridget, dipping her brush into the polish, blowing like an oscillating fan over her nails.Based on the amount of junk cluttering the counter--hairspray, plastic clips, cotton balls--it was either fixing to be a big night, or they were wasting a lot of time on preparation to just hang out and watch TV. Fiona pumped a couple of shots of hair gel into her hand and worked the blob into her wet hair. She reached for a plastic tray of cosmetics, the compacts clicking and bumping against each other as she dug for the right color.‘Want me to do your makeup?’ she asked, turning to face me. I wanted to tell her she could do anything to me that she pleased, as long as I came out looking remotely like her.‘Uh, sure,’ I said.‘Sit here,’ Bridget said as she rose from the toilet lid, flapping her hands before taking her spot in front of the mirror.Fiona hummed along with the radio as she looked me over. Fiona’s face was close. It made me feel awkward, like I didn’t know whether to track her eyes or stare off into space. I zeroed in on the linen cabinet behind her, which reminded me of the day when I got my first period. I had been home alone and of course there was nothing under our bathroom sink except a barf bowl and some Q-Tips. So I had wadded up half a roll of toilet paper, stuffed it between my legs, and went across the street to Fred’s.Fred had opened the door when I’d knocked. I’d asked him if any of the females of the house were available. Of course they weren’t, so I marched up to the bathroom without saying a word. The linen cabinet had been stuffed with feminine hygiene supplies, a city of boxes. I’d grabbed a few of each variety and stuffed them into my shorts, saving one pad to wear home.When I’d opened the door, Fred was standing there.‘I got my period,’ I’d told him.‘Oh,’ he’d said. And I was surprised by how unaffected he’d seemed, like I’d told him I’d replaced the toilet paper roll. He’d put his hand on my shoulder, to gently move me aside and started digging in the linen cabinet.‘What are you doing?’ I’d asked.‘Here,’ he’d said, handing me a bottle of Midol.‘What’s this for?’ I’d asked, though I’d seen it on TV.‘It “relieves the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome”,’ he read from the bottle.‘But I think I have menstrual syndrome.’ I’d said.He shook his head and pushed the bottle into my hand. ‘I think it’s all the same.’” THE LINE TENDER is set in Rockport, Massachusetts, toward the end of the twentieth century, and features a multigenerational cast who have known one another forever. At the middle of this group of family and friends is twelve year-old Lucy Everhart, whose mom, Helen, died suddenly from an aneurysm five years ago. It’s clear that many people have been there for Lucy ever since.I’ve never been part of a community like this and marvel at the connectedness. Lucy is being raised by her father, a rescue diver, with help from many family friends. She’s growing up in her grandparents’ former house, where her mother was raised. Their neighbor, old Mr. Patterson, has lived his life here too. Now a widower, he’d spent his life with a woman who’d been his best friend since toddlerhood. At one point we meet gray-haired Mrs. Lynch, who currently works at the bookstore, but who’d--decades ago--babysat Lucy’s mom when Helen was a little kid. There is a lot of love and caring going on here. Helen, Lucy’s late mom, was a marine biologist who studied sharks. The summer begins with Sookie, Lucy’s dad’s old friend, accidentally snagging a great white shark in his fishing net and then bringing it in to shore. It’s unusual for great whites to be observed this far north, and it becomes the talk of the town. An entry about the shark is going to make an amazing addition to Lucy and Fred’s field guide, and leads the young friends to poke around in Helen’s old academic papers. There they discover a proposal for studying great whites. THE LINE TENDER is a story of surviving change and loss. For Lucy. The sharks. The planet. And Mr. Patterson, who’d been the one to tell then-seven year-old Lucy that her mom had died. It’s coming up on ten years since I read WHEN YOU REACH ME for the first time. It could well be ten years since I cried this much while reading a book.There’s a brief scene where Lucy and Fred encounter a sea star with a missing leg. Lucy asks Fred, “How can they grow a new leg? Why can’t humans do that?” and Fred replies, “They’ve just figured it out.”Life hands us comedy and tragedy, and survive we must, the best we can, loving one another and sometimes just stumbling ahead, figuring it out as we go along.Shades of Dorothy: In order to make better sense of her mother’s old shark study proposal, Lucy embarks on a glorious two-day road trip up to Maine, accompanied by her father, Sookie, and old Mr. Patterson. What a hoot! There they visit with Helen’s now-95-year-old mentor, who is losing his mind but still clearly recalls the work of his all-time best student. It’s not surprising to learn that first-time author Kate Allen grew up in this part of the world. There are a million little details that make setting such a strength of the story. And there are more than three dozen full-page or full-spread drawings, mostly of sharks, that immeasurably enrich the book.2019 is already looking like a children’s lit embarrassment of riches. THE LINE TENDER is one of the sparkling jewels about which you’ll be hearing more.Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/[email protected]
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusLucy lives in Rockport, and her father is a police officer there. They are still grieving the loss of her mother, a marine biologist with a passion for sharks, five years ago. Their close knit community has helped, but when a tragedy occurs, this foundation is shaken. Lucy tries to deal with this new wave of grief by trying to solve a problem with the sharks that her mother was working on at the time of her death. This leads her to consult people who knew her mother and E ARC from Edelweiss PlusLucy lives in Rockport, and her father is a police officer there. They are still grieving the loss of her mother, a marine biologist with a passion for sharks, five years ago. Their close knit community has helped, but when a tragedy occurs, this foundation is shaken. Lucy tries to deal with this new wave of grief by trying to solve a problem with the sharks that her mother was working on at the time of her death. This leads her to consult people who knew her mother and spend lots of time with her mother's notes and in watching and observing sharks. She does learn some more about her mother, helps her father a bit, and establishes more connections with people who can help her deal with life. Strengths: There are very nice illustrations of sharks throughout the book, and a lot of information about types, habits, etc. It's good to see a mother portrayed as a top person in her field. The quest portion of this is well constructed, with Lucy trying to follow different leads about her mother's life. Weaknesses: This is very long (384 pages), and has a lot of unneeded details, as well as odd turns of phrase. This read like a first middle grade novel of someone who writes for adults. The overwhelming sadness and grief in the story slowed down the plot. This would have been a little happier and more interesting if the tragedy hadn't occurred and Lucy just suddenly got interested in reconnecting with her mother. What I really think: Will pass on purchase because I just can't think of any students to whom I would hand this if I had a copy in the library.
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  • Momo
    January 1, 1970
    That was a painful 371 pages. At some point, I was just skimming through certain chapters. I feel like this had potential. A lot, actually. It was so slow and I was just bored at certain points. I couldn't connect to any of the characters. Not, Fred, Lucy, Lucy's dad, etc. I think my favorite character was Mr. Patterson and even he felt a bit flat and dry sometimes.The writing especially felt off for me. It felt a bit mature for the voice of an almost 13 year old and it also just felt disjointed That was a painful 371 pages. At some point, I was just skimming through certain chapters. I feel like this had potential. A lot, actually. It was so slow and I was just bored at certain points. I couldn't connect to any of the characters. Not, Fred, Lucy, Lucy's dad, etc. I think my favorite character was Mr. Patterson and even he felt a bit flat and dry sometimes.The writing especially felt off for me. It felt a bit mature for the voice of an almost 13 year old and it also just felt disjointed? Lots of sentences, scenes and interactions that felt like they were placed there just to be written and feel 'literary' but they weren't. It just didn't add to the story in any way and didn't make sense or add any insight to our characters.Also, why did Lucy have to understand her mother's research? She never felt a reason to before and it's not like Fred had talked to her about it, that got her interested, so it just felt like a random sort of mission to insert in the story to fill up an extra 200 pages which wasn't necessary.I read an arc, so maybe the final version will be better but I won't be rereading to find out.
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  • Clay
    January 1, 1970
    This middle-grade novel about loss, grief and recovery after a death has a second tragedy early in the story that, for me, came too soon, left me feeling cheated, and made the book top-heavy. My head understands why the author made this choice (it propels a grief-stuck family and friends to come to terms with the death of five years before), and yet my heart felt the second tragedy coming so soon in the book didn't give me sufficient time with and investment in the object of that tragedy. And st This middle-grade novel about loss, grief and recovery after a death has a second tragedy early in the story that, for me, came too soon, left me feeling cheated, and made the book top-heavy. My head understands why the author made this choice (it propels a grief-stuck family and friends to come to terms with the death of five years before), and yet my heart felt the second tragedy coming so soon in the book didn't give me sufficient time with and investment in the object of that tragedy. And still, and yet, much here to recommend, and I'll be looking for the next book from Allen. Remarkable marine line art and gorgeous, fitting cover.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    Lucy Everhart is 12-years-old (“almost 13” is how she describes herself—she narrates the book). Her best friend Fred lives across the street, and they’ve been inseparable for as long as they can remember. They live in Rockport, Massachusetts, and at the opening of the book, a local fisherman has just hauled a great white shark onto the dock in town. Lucy is a talented artist, and is working with Fred on an illustrated field guide for summer extra credit. Fred is a scientist by inclination, and w Lucy Everhart is 12-years-old (“almost 13” is how she describes herself—she narrates the book). Her best friend Fred lives across the street, and they’ve been inseparable for as long as they can remember. They live in Rockport, Massachusetts, and at the opening of the book, a local fisherman has just hauled a great white shark onto the dock in town. Lucy is a talented artist, and is working with Fred on an illustrated field guide for summer extra credit. Fred is a scientist by inclination, and writing the field guide is his idea of a good time. Lucy is happily along for the ride. Her mother was a biologist who researched sharks and died when Lucy was 7. Lucy and Fred’s research on the shark for the field guide sets Lucy on a sort of quest: to find out what has come of her mother’s last research project and why there are suddenly so many white sharks off the coast of New England. It also forces Lucy to explore unexamined feelings about her mother’s death.THE LINE TENDER is remarkable. Beautiful in its depictions of love, grief, and healing. The improvised family around Lucy and the connections that Lucy makes and sometimes almost misses with the people around her are so satisfying. These connections sustain her, but at the same time, their fragility is true to the lack of control that all people, but especially kids, have over the conditions of their lives. Plus, sharks are amazing, and Lucy’s discovery of her interest in science (a gift from Fred) means that she discovers the wonders of sharks and of her own mother in parallel.You could give this to kids who are interested in biology. Maybe it works as an animal book (not a warm and fuzzy being friends with animals book)? There’s a lot of really interesting stuff in here—about music, about drawing, about scuba diving and ecology. One of the things that Lucy loves about Fred is that he can see what’s interesting in anything, and her voice shows the reader just what that looks like.As someone who buys kids books for a living, I spend a lot of time thinking about what kinds of stories publishers are bringing out, and which ones are going to appeal to kids, and to their parents who are usually the ones doing the actual buying. I also love to read middle grade fiction, both with my son and on my own. One of the things that I find challenging about choosing middle grade books for our store is that it is always totally possible to put together a whole huge table of newly released middle grade books that are all HUGE BUMMERS. Beautiful, thoughtful, true to life, full of memorable characters, and ready to rip your heart right out and stomp on it. This is a heart-stomper. No question. This is the kind of gorgeous book that critics praise and librarians decorate with prizes. And it has all the healing and redemption you could hope for. Personally, I love it without reservation. But this is the kind of book that I can’t ever get my son to read. Too sad. I’ll try it on him, because I’m a slow learner, and I would LOVE tobe wrong. I just wish that publishers would give this much care and attention to a funny book once in a while.
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  • Kathy Cunningham
    January 1, 1970
    Kate Allen’s THE LINE TENDER is a novel about survival. On the one hand, it’s about 12-year-old Lucy Everhart who lost her mother five years before the novel begins. Lucy still struggles with memories of her mother, who was a marine biologist specializing in sharks. It’s hard living in Rockport, Massachusetts, with the ocean and its denizens always so close, reminding Lucy of her lost mother. On the other hand, this novel is about the sharks themselves, and especially great whites. These ancient Kate Allen’s THE LINE TENDER is a novel about survival. On the one hand, it’s about 12-year-old Lucy Everhart who lost her mother five years before the novel begins. Lucy still struggles with memories of her mother, who was a marine biologist specializing in sharks. It’s hard living in Rockport, Massachusetts, with the ocean and its denizens always so close, reminding Lucy of her lost mother. On the other hand, this novel is about the sharks themselves, and especially great whites. These ancient creatures struggle, too, as they fight to survive in the face of climate change and human interference. There is a connection between Lucy and the great whites, a connection made strong by Lucy’s mother, gone but never forgotten.This is a beautifully written and deeply moving novel. Lucy is the narrator, sharing both her memories of her mother and her budding relationship with Fred, her best friend and constant companion. Fred is a science nerd, with a special love for biology (just as Lucy’s mother was). Lucy is an artist who is adept at drawing the sea creatures she and Fred study. And great white sharks are what intrigue them the most. About midway through, another tragedy happens that consumes Lucy and her father, reminding them both of her mother and how hard it has been to move past the loss. The only way through for both of them is to find a way to reconnect – with each other, with the past, and with what the future will bring. That’s how survival works.The novel’s title – THE LINE TENDER – refers to the member of an ocean rescue team who tends the line that connects to the underwater rescue divers. The line is attached to the divers, and the tender waits for signals (pulls on the line) indicating the progress of the search. Lucy’s father tells her she would make a good line tender, because “the line tender sees everything. Reads the divers’ signals, the terrain, the equipment. Uses all the resources to stay connected to the other end of the line.” It’s that connection – to whatever might ultimately be lost – that defines Lucy. As an artist, a daughter, and a friend. I loved reading this novel. It’s intended for middle grade readers (10-13 years), but I see it as a story for all ages. It’s both heartrending and joyful, deeply sad but ultimately hopeful. I highly recommend it.[Please note: I was provided an Advance Reading Copy of this novel free of charge; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    An incredible debut novel, this is the story of Lucy, a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in Rockport, Massachusetts. Her mother, a shark biologist, died when she was seven of a brain aneurysm while out in a boat studying sharks. Lucy lives with her father, a diver who puts in lots of extra hours as he works to rescue or recover people. Lucy also lives next door to her best friend, Fred. Fred is a scientist while Lucy prefers art. Together during the summer, they are working on a field guide abou An incredible debut novel, this is the story of Lucy, a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in Rockport, Massachusetts. Her mother, a shark biologist, died when she was seven of a brain aneurysm while out in a boat studying sharks. Lucy lives with her father, a diver who puts in lots of extra hours as he works to rescue or recover people. Lucy also lives next door to her best friend, Fred. Fred is a scientist while Lucy prefers art. Together during the summer, they are working on a field guide about wildlife in Rockport. So when Sookie’s nets bring in a great white shark, Lucy and Fred immediately head to the pier to see it. Fred begins to study Lucy’s mother’s proposals to study sharks in a new way. When tragedy strikes, Lucy must figure out how to navigate a new loss even as white sharks begin to appear along the coast, seeming to be a sign to follow a specific path to learn more about her mother.The writing here is simply incredible. Allen invites you into Lucy’s world, showing how a community came together to help raise her when her mother died. The setting in Rockport is drawn with attention and love. From the wildlife and beaches the two friends explore to the community with its open doors, lifelong connections to one another, and always room for Lucy. The sheltering nature of the community make the deep loss all the more shocking and affecting.It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel given its attention to detail, meticulous building of a story, and the immediate trust one has in the author. Lucy is an incredible character. She has overcome one loss already, so the next one could maybe break her. Instead, she copes in inventive ways, asks for help and pulls her friends and family closer to her side. The information and connection to sharks is an effective way to allow the story to move forward even as everyone is trapped in their grief.A brilliant debut that is rich, layered and shows that connection to nature can allow one to weather new storms. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
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  • Peg
    January 1, 1970
    Sharks off the coast—one caught in fishing net, another washes ashore. Sounds like the start of an exciting adventure, but Kate Allen’s novel is a beautifully slowly paced look at friendship, grief, and healing. Lucy’s mother, a shark biologist, died five year’s ago. Lucy and her still-grieving father continue to live in the same house where her mother grew up in a small town on Cape Cod. Nearby are her best friend, Fred, and his family, elderly Mr. Patterson, and fisherman friend Sookie. Lucy a Sharks off the coast—one caught in fishing net, another washes ashore. Sounds like the start of an exciting adventure, but Kate Allen’s novel is a beautifully slowly paced look at friendship, grief, and healing. Lucy’s mother, a shark biologist, died five year’s ago. Lucy and her still-grieving father continue to live in the same house where her mother grew up in a small town on Cape Cod. Nearby are her best friend, Fred, and his family, elderly Mr. Patterson, and fisherman friend Sookie. Lucy and Fred are working on an extra-credit field guide over the summer, but Fred tragically drowns swimming in the quarry at night. Once again, Lucy’s world is in shambles. She decides to carry on their field guide work, mostly focusing on sharks. Fred had been the scientist in that endeavor and Lucy the artist, but she tackles both the learning and the drawing with her whole heart. As she digs into the project, she learns more about her mother and her work, which helps her cope with the loss of Fred and her easy relationship with some of Fred’s family. She exhibits physical and emotional reactions to her grief, but many caring adults from the town help. Lucy’s relationship with her father has always been strong yet tender. As she delves into her late mother’s work, the two share more and more about her and their feelings. The text is long and unhurried, but the short chapters and two-page spreads of different sharks at the beginning of each chapter make it seem less so. Occasional humor also helps. Through Lucy’s voice, readers are treated to a multi-layered look at the intersection of art, science, love, and grief. It’s both honest and hopeful. Thanks to NetGalley for providing a DRC for my honest review.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up this books as an ARC at a children's literature conference. The cover definitely caught my eye, and while you can't judge a book based on that, it sure doesn't hurt. Both of my adolescent daughters oohed and aahed when they saw that cover. Inside, the story doesn't disappoint. Lucy lives alone with her dad, her shark researcher mother having died when she was seven. Everyone in their small coastal community knows her, but she doesn't have a lot of friends. Except for Fred, a boy her I picked up this books as an ARC at a children's literature conference. The cover definitely caught my eye, and while you can't judge a book based on that, it sure doesn't hurt. Both of my adolescent daughters oohed and aahed when they saw that cover. Inside, the story doesn't disappoint. Lucy lives alone with her dad, her shark researcher mother having died when she was seven. Everyone in their small coastal community knows her, but she doesn't have a lot of friends. Except for Fred, a boy her age who lives right next door. Quirky Fred is shorter than she is, carries an inhaler for his asthma, and loves jazz fusion and science. Their friendship is the core of this book. When another tragedy strikes, Lucy has to live with its consequences, and she and her dad finally have to find a way to come to terms with the death of her mother. With the help of Fred's sister, Fiona, her elderly neighbor, Mr. Patterson, and Sookie, an old fisherman friend of her mother's, Lucy comes to know and understand her mother better through the sharks she loved. This book is sweet and tender, but certainly not without its funny moments, Mr. Patterson's "hairy keister" comment being one of my favorites. You will love Lucy and Fred and all the other characters in this book, who are complicated, flawed and very very real. Two thumbs up!
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  • Marti
    January 1, 1970
    The Line Tender by Kate Allen was listed as a middle school read, but it had elements that could hold the attention of a range of readers. The main character is Lucy Everhart. She is a middle schooler who is being raised by her Dad, after the death of her mother (a famous marine biologist). Lucy’s dad gets called out a lot as he is a detective and a rescue diver for coastal town. Lucy is just figuring out her body and all the new parts of her growing and coming to understand how the grief for he The Line Tender by Kate Allen was listed as a middle school read, but it had elements that could hold the attention of a range of readers. The main character is Lucy Everhart. She is a middle schooler who is being raised by her Dad, after the death of her mother (a famous marine biologist). Lucy’s dad gets called out a lot as he is a detective and a rescue diver for coastal town. Lucy is just figuring out her body and all the new parts of her growing and coming to understand how the grief for her mother is cyclical. Her best friend, Fred is the seriously nerdy boy next door. They spend everyday together and take care of each other. They both are fascinated by the Great White Shark Scooter brought in and get into Lucy’s mother’s books in order to research the shark for their summer science project. Another tragedy happens and Lucy is thrown hard. Her father, Scooter (fishman) and Mr Patterson (older neighbor) all work together to help Lucy find her balance. It is through them and her dogged determination that she is able to refind her passion and find her way forward. The Line Tender by Kate Allen is poignant, tender, heart-breaking, reaffirming, exciting and wonderful. Oh and the cool part is there is so much information about the Great White Sharks and Cape Cod. This is a book, I will highly recommend!
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Be prepared for all the feels. I found myself really liking Lucy and Fred. They're the kind of friends who will be there for each other through thick and thin--finish each other's sentences and always together kind of friends. When an old family friend catches a Great White and brings it back to Rockport Harbor, it sets off a chain of events that remind Lucy of her mother the shark scientist who died when she was little. With help from friends, Lucy finds herself searching for answers to questio Be prepared for all the feels. I found myself really liking Lucy and Fred. They're the kind of friends who will be there for each other through thick and thin--finish each other's sentences and always together kind of friends. When an old family friend catches a Great White and brings it back to Rockport Harbor, it sets off a chain of events that remind Lucy of her mother the shark scientist who died when she was little. With help from friends, Lucy finds herself searching for answers to questions her mother posed years before. Can Lucy find her way forward by looking back to her mother's work? I thought I knew where the story was heading. About 1/3 of the way in, I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. Have your tissues ready. This is an upper middle grade read due to relationships and some drinking. There is also some frank anatomical language relative to the field guide Lucy and Fred are working on.
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  • Evelyn
    January 1, 1970
    This novel abounds in quiet, heartfelt (and heartbreaking) moments in the varying relationships of daughter and father, best friends becoming more than friends and the different ways people grieve in the face of family tragedy. Beautifully and subtly told, with the fresh and constant salt tang of the coastal fishing town setting of Massachusetts and Maine, middle school readers will be intrigued by the evocative line drawings of sharks, the snippets of shark behavior scattered throughout the boo This novel abounds in quiet, heartfelt (and heartbreaking) moments in the varying relationships of daughter and father, best friends becoming more than friends and the different ways people grieve in the face of family tragedy. Beautifully and subtly told, with the fresh and constant salt tang of the coastal fishing town setting of Massachusetts and Maine, middle school readers will be intrigued by the evocative line drawings of sharks, the snippets of shark behavior scattered throughout the book, as our protagonist seeks to honor her biologist mother’s memory. Give to readers who loved Tae Keller’s Science of Breakable Things and Stacy McAnulty’s Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. A few references to drinking and kissing might make this less suitable for younger elementary aged readers. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a digital ARC at School Library Journal’s Middle Grade Magic Virtual Summit in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Martha Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! A gorgeous, heartrending yet hopeful read about a girl coping with grief. Lucy lives in Rockport, MA (not Rockport, ME) and she and her best friend, Fred, are creating a science notebook of creatures in and around Rockport. Fred is the scientist; Lucy is the artist. But sometimes, you need to cover a lot of anatomical science to create just the right art. Lucy's lost her mom 5 years before and then, before the story really gets moving, she loses someone else close to her. How to keep her lo Wow! A gorgeous, heartrending yet hopeful read about a girl coping with grief. Lucy lives in Rockport, MA (not Rockport, ME) and she and her best friend, Fred, are creating a science notebook of creatures in and around Rockport. Fred is the scientist; Lucy is the artist. But sometimes, you need to cover a lot of anatomical science to create just the right art. Lucy's lost her mom 5 years before and then, before the story really gets moving, she loses someone else close to her. How to keep her love strong without letting it kill her? How to mourn what's lost forever while moving ahead? Newbery material, for sure! I also loved how each chapter followed up a prompt in the last sentence of the preceding chapter. Although it moves slowly, this book can feel like a page-turner. This is Kate Allen's first published novel and will look forward to more books from her. (ARC provided to the library where I work.)
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