Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 11/01/2013 Gr 5–8—After her father's death, 11-year-old Binny and her bereaved family find themselves in the house of a deceased relative in a seaside town. There the child becomes fast enemies with the boy next door, yearns for a long-lost dog, crushes on an older boy, and eventually-through a drawn-out pivotal scene interspersed throughout the primary narrative-comes to accept the grief she's been denying herself. The meaning of friendship and loss underlies what otherwise comes across as a fairly light summer beach novel, peopled with loving and quirky characters who get into similarly sweet and innocent scrapes. Although the complex backstory weighs down the start of the book, McKay keeps the rest from flagging by continuously jumping from one short scene to another, some of which are rip-roaringly funny. Odd and unnecessary childish illustrations of enormous-eyed characters caught in overly emotional states make an awkward juxtaposition with McKay's heartfelt and earnest writing. Binny is wonderfully fun and easy to relate to. Give this one to fans of Jeanne Birdsall's "Penderwicks" (Knopf) and McKay's earlier novels.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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