A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is about a 13-year-old girl facing challenges and trying to fit in. There is discussion of stuffing bras, belly-button rings, crushes and kissing boys, body changes or lack thereof, annoying siblings, parents who don't "get it," and vicious popular kids. Evyn Linney is a likeable character, funny, sassy, and, at times, sad; there are passages when she talks to her dead mother and desperately wants her comfort, and she steals money and tries to run away. Also, there are adults, specifically her father and girlfriend/new wife, who have sex and get pregnant.
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What's the story?
When 13-year-old Evyn's widower father gets married to a woman with six kids, she, her father, and her older brother move from Maine to Boston to live with them. It's torture from the start. While her father starts wearing different clothes and shaves his beard and her geeky older brother gets the lead in the high school musical, she has to share a room with twins and go to an all-girl middle school.
Feeling miserable, she turns to her old best friend in Maine for support, but finds her distant. She even talks to her dead mother, seeking her comfort. Slowly she learns more about her new stepmother, her siblings, her father, and even herself and begins to move towards acceptance and growth.
Is it any good?
BOUNCE, the third novel by Natasha Friend, a former middle school teacher and camp director, delivers another relatable, likeable, struggling character for young teens, Evyn Linney. This is a quick, satisfying read by a popular author who really understands the age. Teens who liked Friend's other books will take to it immediately.
But unlike Perfect, where the main character's battle with bulimia can be tough stuff for young readers, here Evyn's support system -- her dad and her new mom -- are strong models who help keep Evyn grounded. It's what allows Evyn to get back to more typical teen problems like peer pressure, romantic attractions, and body changes (or lack thereof). And it's what tells you that Evyn's life turned upside down will right itself again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Evyn's challenges. Her situation is specific, but are her challenges somewhat relatable to all kids in middle school? Where does she find her strength? What is likeable about Evyn? Is there good communication among daughter, father, and brother? What characters do you relate to most in books and movies?