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VOYAThirteen-year-old Brady lives an idyllic life near the Chesapeake Bay with good buddies and loving parents-his dad is a waterman. But the region's social fabric is fraying as watermen and environmentalists clash over use of the bay. Farmland is snapped up by outsiders for conversion into estates with splashy mansions. One such home has gone up next door to Brady, and his pals resent being booted off land where they have roamed freely until now. The boys talk revenge, and when they spot the new owner's kayak out on a dangerous day, they fail to call a warning. Tragedy results, heightened because it was not the owner in the kayak but his wife and child. Brady joins the rescue effort and performs heroically, but to no avail. A death occurs and further tragedy is revealed when Brady finds out just why the kayak sank. Should he tell? The truth will forever change the lives of those he loves. With this finely crafted novel, Cummings, author of A Face First (Dutton, 2001/VOYA February 2001) and Saving Grace (Dutton, 2003/VOYA October 2003), firmly establishes herself as an outstanding writer for early teens. The writing here is direct and clear; the setting, characterizations, and voices ring with authenticity; the situation is tense and the stakes high. Cummings handles Brady's decision making with realism made powerful by its lack of didacticism. Right to the end, the outcome is uncertain. This book is a gem. Buy it for both school and public libraries. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Dutton, 224p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Mary E. Heslin