A young girl aims to revitalize her lake town’s annual festival to reunite her family and honor her mom’s memory in this tenderhearted middle grade novel for fans of The Summer of June and Violets Are Blue.
Brooke’s mom always used to tell her, “It’s just a game.” But now that mom’s gone, Brooke is finding it hard to keep softball as just a game, when so much of her mom’s memory is woven into her favorite sport. And it doesn’t help that her older sister, Calla, has started avoiding the field, and Dad doesn’t have as much time to toss the ball in their backyard or go to all her games.
Then Brooke and her best friend, Derek, come across an album full of photos from when their town celebrated its annual Lakefest, a summer picnic that brought the whole community together at Brooke’s parents’ lake houses. When she brings up the idea to revive the event, Dad and Calla shut her down, but Brooke is certain that Lakefest can bring joy back to everyone in her town.
And maybe if her team of Derek and an unexpected classmate can pull off the picnic, her family can learn to heal and grow and create new memories, and Brooke can discover that she’s capable of more than she ever imagined.
Beth Turley is a graduate of the MFA in creative and professional writing program at Western Connecticut State University. She lives and writes in southeastern Connecticut, where the leaves changing color feels like magic and the water is never too far away. She is the author of If This Were a Story, The Last Tree Town, The Flyers, and This Close to Home. Visit her on Twitter @Beth_Turley.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 30, 2023)
"What makes this book stand out is its skillful highlighting of tween girls’ confusion around changing expectations and emotions. These are real experiences told honestly, with empathy and insight...a sensitively told story with thought-provoking social commentary."