Island Eyes, Island Skies

Richard Levine
  • Review
By – August 31, 2011
Sev­enth grade can sure be a chal­lenge, espe­cial­ly when you are the new kid in town” and have legs so long that you are con­sid­ered a giant mutant mon­ster,” but spunky D.C. Blau takes it all in stride! When she and her fam­i­ly move to West­wood, Long Island, the only per­son she knows is her cousin Becky; at Becky’s birth­day par­ty, D.C. meets bash­ful Rob Cameron and sud­den­ly, start­ing a new school seems promis­ing. The two make plans to meet up again over the sum­mer, but cir­cum­stances out of their con­trol get in the way; Rob’s father suf­fers from a heart attack and nev­er recov­ers, while D.C.’s moth­er has a mis­car­riage and is severe­ly depressed. As the new school year begins and their paths con­tin­ue to cross, a spe­cial friend­ship evolves; sophis­ti­cat­ed D.C. appre­ci­ates Rob’s sense of humor and has a knack for writ­ing sil­ly, imag­i­nary head­lines for their expe­ri­ences and Rob thinks D.C. can do any­thing! At first they share school assign­ments, nature walks, and sport­ing events but as they spend more time togeth­er, they each find a kin­dred spir­it where they can open­ly share their dreams, hopes, and fears. Their true feel­ings for each oth­er sur­face at the School’s Almost Out Dance” where D.C. pro­claims, All in all, it’s been a pret­ty good year,” and Rob ner­vous­ly plans for their first date! As Rob anx­ious­ly rides his bike to D.C.’s house, the per­fect blue sky is cloud­ed by the smoke of a descend­ing plane that lands on the Blaus’ lawn; Rob turns on his super­hero strength, enter­ing a house engulfed in flames and although he man­ages to res­cue D.C. before he col­laps­es, her younger broth­er Tom­my nev­er regains con­scious­ness. Still raw from the pain of the past sum­mer, the tragedy of los­ing a child is too much to han­dle; D.C.’s par­ents make the deci­sion to move and start a new life in Col­orado. Although D.C. can­not believe she is leav­ing her Run­ner Boy” behind, she strong­ly believes the world is so small, that she is des­tined to meet up with Rob in the future, when the time is right for both of them. This bit­ter­sweet sto­ry, told in dis­tinct var­i­ous voic­es, like Nick and Norah’s Infi­nite Playlist” by Rachel Cohen, will be a sure hit with fans of Paula Danziger and Judy Blume titles. Although more main­stream than steeped in Jew­ish cul­ture, Rob’s moth­er is Jew­ish and there are small clues of the family’s Jew­ish iden­ti­ty such as attend­ing events at the West­wood JCC, cel­e­brat­ing Hanukkah, and a favorite Yid­dish sto­ry that Rob returns to year after year. Mem­o­rable, three-dimen­sion­al char­ac­ters, and an intense, engag­ing plot makes this a great choice for mid­dle school stu­dents. Ages 12 and up.
Debra Gold has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 20 years in the Cuya­hoga Coun­ty Pub­lic Library Sys­tem. An active mem­ber of the ALA, she has served on many com­mit­tees includ­ing the Calde­cott, New­bery and Batchelder committees.

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