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Crammed with incident, yet loose and rambling and without much dramatic arc, this slice-of-life novel, the sixth in the series, charts Willa's life, loves and personal growth though part of an event-filled summer.
There's something refreshing and rather fabulous about the slightly dull Willa Havisham books (Willa by Heart, 2008, etc.). They star the nicest, most well-adjusted, dependable 14-year-old in the world, a book-loving girl who does her chores in the family business with good grace, loves the nurturing, community-minded adults in her life and strives to be the best person she can be. She doesn't wear Jimmy Choos, obsess about her weight or, heaven forbid, smoke (anything); instead she tries to come up with a charitable project that's really her. Not to say there's no conflict. Willa wrestles with her feelings about her once-best friend, has minor disagreements with her driven businesswoman mother and is distressed (but also exhilarated) when she finds herself attracted to two boys at the same time. Set in a charming, fictional Cape Cod community, the story strolls along, never generating a great deal of heat or suspense, yet managing to keep readers involved and interested.
Lovers of hip, edgy or meta should look elsewhere, but this story carries its own brand of modest delight for the right reader. (Fiction. 10-15)