This is a story about Martha, a twelve year old girl who is experiencing a summer of self discovery. Her summer begins with the sad news when Martha learns that one of her classmates was killed in a bicycle accident. Even more, Olive mentioned Martha in her journal and Olive's mother brings that page to give to Martha. This is an action that touches Martha to the core.
Martha's family travels to her grandmother's (Godbee) house for the summer, a lovely little house on the seashore. During this summer, Martha will discover the excitement and heartache of love, and contemplates the reality of death.
What I Thought: Such a sweet book! While Martha and Olive were not close friends, Martha is saddened by her passing all the same. This book explores Martha's thoughts of how she wants to live her life to the fullest while honoring Olive for the life she lived.
This is a highly challenged book, number 62 on the Top 100 Challenged Books during 2000-2007. This is probably because of the idea of Olive's death (which is not described in great detail or happens during the book, the accident has already happened when the book begins), a cruel and embarrassing joke, and a near death experience. However, I think that it is a superb book and the contents of the book are appropriate for most children. The positives of this story very much outweigh the negative.
This book is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including being a Newbery Honor Book, ALA Notable Children's Book, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.
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