Author: Messner, Kate
Moving to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, a young gymnast hides a secret as she makes new friends and investigates her grandmother's claim that someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 506145
Kirkus Reviews (+) (10/15/19)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/15/2019 Mia and her parents are moving back to Vermont to help her grandmother, a former entomologist, sell her cricket farm. Mia’s happy to leave the bustle of Boston, but she’s less enthused about having to attend two summer camps instead of vegging out in front of the TV, her favorite pastime since her gymnastics injury last year. Despite her reluctance, the Launch (entrepreneurial) and Ninja Warrior camps help her in ways she never expected. Meanwhile, someone is out to sabotage Gram’s business after she decides to expand rather than sell, inspiring Mia’s Launch project and adding a fun, mystery element to the story. Amid common themes of friendship and overcoming fears, Messner (Breakout, 2018) folds in strong messaging about sexual harassment, most poignantly in Mia’s experience with a former gymnastics coach. As Mia’s trauma is slowly revealed, Messner incorporates others’ #MeToo experiences, providing her with a strong support system of women. This book directly addresses a relevant topic rarely discussed with middle-schoolers—and it’s not the lively debate over whether people should eat crickets. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 4–6—Messner crafts a timely "#MeToo" novel wrapped in intriguing parallel mysteries. What turned talented gymnast Mia away from the sport she loved after a fall and surgery? There's a story she hasn't told anyone. And who is sabotaging her Gram's fledgeling cricket farm? In the summer after seventh grade, Mia finds the courage—and voice—to confront both. Helping Mia reclaim her strength are the skills she develops while attending two summer camps and a number of memorable female supporting characters. New friend Clover's innate bravery and self-confidence help Mia remember she is strong, too. Gram almost steals the spotlight as the novel's most inspiring character through her rich backstory and, like Mia, is determined to recover from a physical setback. Most male figures—both human and insect—are depicted as characters who are less mature and sensitive than their female counterparts. A male camper eventually apologizes to Mia's friend Anna for making her feel uncomfortable with his advances. At Mia's request, her mother tells her father about Mia's past abuse to spare the teen re-telling her painful story to him; "Dad wasn't great about talking about things like that." The novel's important themes successfully inspire and empower its audience. Mia's shyness, aversion to gymnastics, and discomfort with unfamiliar boys and men clearly establishes the thematic subtext of the novel for young readers, even when the action is focused on the sabotage afoot. VERDICT A novel that succeeds most as a carefully plotted, engaging mystery and middle grade–appropriate introduction to a serious and pervasive issue.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.