Lexie by Audrey Couloumbis
The shore has always been one of ten-year-old Lexie’s favorite places in the world. She would spend the summer there with her parents, playing on the beach, finding treasures in the sand, and reading picture books. Now though, her parents are divorced. So her mother isn’t going to be going to the shore at all. Lexie is spending a week there with just her dad. Or so she thinks! On the way there, her father announces that his new girlfriend will be joining them, and her two sons too. Lexie is pushed out of her usual bedroom into one that is as tiny as a closet. Teenage Ben is also not enthusiastic about being stuck together. Little Harris is messy and doesn’t even want to head outside at first. As the two families try to live together, Lexie discovers that connections can be created over the smallest things and that there is still room for everyone even if the house is a lot more crowded.
This is a book that takes a moment in time, a week at the shore, and creates a world out of it. Couloumbis writes with a voice that celebrates the small things, yet doesn’t wander. The characters are real, each written with an honesty that is surprising. The adults have faults, make mistakes. The young people are struggling with this new situation, facing it with various emotions that all read as true.
Lexie is child who can see past her love for her father and see him through the others’ eyes. At the same time though, she has to spend time with the others to understand them as deeply. It all works well as the reader is also learning about these characters. When truths are revealed is a crux of the story. Throughout the book, honesty is explored. Lexie struggles with trying to be kind and then finding herself in situations where it may have been better all along to tell the truth. The situation with the adults mirrors this as well.
This is a radiant read that explores deep issues of divroce and truth while never losing the sunshine of the shore. It would make an intriguing pairing with Junonia by Kevin Henkes which is for a similar age and also is set on the beach. Appropriate for ages 8-11.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House.
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