Parents' Guide to

The Ashwater Experiment

By Cindy Kane, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A sharp take on junior high relationships.

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Hillary's way of coping -- creating a fantasy experiment -- allows her to maintain an emotional distance from her own life, and to make some pretty sharp observations of both her parents and peers. She is quickly able to get beyond the stereotypes of the popular girl and the angry outsider to see the complex humanity in each.

Hillary's alien-observation fantasy may be off-putting for some readers, though she clearly abandons the pretense by story's end. When she tells her new friend Cass about it and asks, "Do you think I was crazy?" Cass responds, "No. I think you were lonely"--the perfect response from an understanding friend.

Book Details

  • Author: Amy Goldman Koss
  • Genre: Family Life
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Penguin Group
  • Publication date: January 1, 1999
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 153
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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