One summer,after a long plane rideand a rotten bad yearI went to Grandma Jo's.It was my mother's idea.Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.I think she needed a change of scenery, too.One without me.Because that rotten bad year'sThat was my fault.Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a new town for a fresh start after his father went to jail. But Jett soon learned that fresh starts aren't all they're cracked up to be. When he befriended a boy with a difficult home life, Jett found himself in a cycle of bad decisions that culminated in the betrayal of a friend - a shameful secret he still hasn't forgiven himself for. Will a summer spent with his unconventional grandmother help Jett find his way to redemption?Writing in artfully crafted free-verse vignettes, Heather T. Smith uses a deceptively simple style to tell a powerful and emotionally charged story. The engaging narrative and the mystery of Jett's secret keep the pages turning and will appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. This captivating book offers a terrific opportunity for classroom discussions about the many ways to tell a story and how a small number of carefully chosen words can have a huge impact. It also showcases the positive character traits of empathy resilience, courage, and responsibility.
|Publisher:||Kids Can Press, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Heather Smith is the author of two young adult novels, Baygirl and The Agony of Bun O'Keefe. Originally from Newfoundland, she now lives in Waterloo, Ontario.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Trigger warnings include domestic violence and child abuse. The past year of Jett’s life has gone from bad to worse. His father is in prison, his mother moved him to the mainland and Jett has allowed victimhood to define him and his behaviour. As a result he’s made some really poor decisions and he’s been sent to stay with his granny for the summer, a well needed time out for Jett and his mother. I adored Jett’s cotton candy granny, whose hair colour coordinates with her house colour. She is one of the coolest grannies ever! Her unconditional love for Jett came across as so genuine. She loves him no matter what and she gives him the space he needs to work through the guilt and shame he’s carrying about the events of the past year, yet also gently pushes him when he needs it. Without Jett’s granny I expect things would have turned out a lot differently for this 11 year old. I know he’s going to look back years from now and credit his granny and those experiences with her that summer with the man he becomes. Now I’m talking about him like he doesn’t live on pages but if any author can make me ugly cry at how beautiful their book is, their characters are going to become a part of me. Especially when I cry while thinking about them to write my review - that’s a first! Jett’s summer is one of respite, of taking stock and learning to take responsibility for his actions. He has the opportunity to consider the kid he was before he went to the mainland, who he became once there and the man he wants to become. Shining a spotlight on how difficult it is to face up to the actions you regret and forgiving others as well as yourself, Jett’s journey is ultimately one of redemption and hope. While this is marketed as a children’s book, it has a lot to offer adults as well. The writing is simply gorgeous and reminded me why I love this author. There’s at once a simplicity and depth to the way Heather Smith writes and as with The Agony of Bun O’Keefe I was happily motoring along, loving the book but not realising my emotional investment in her characters until the ugly cry escaped. I wound up on the final page of Ebb and Flow with a satisfied sigh and tears running down my face, and the only word I could think of was beautiful. Heather Smith’s writing reminds me of the feeling I get reading a Billie Letts book. There’s a vulnerability, openness and loveable quirkiness in their characters, and you’re permitted access to the real person beneath the façade. As you gradually delve into Jett’s rotten year you meet Alf who is adorable and childlike and the alleged villain of the story who I really liked, and whose emotions and acts I could empathise with. Cotton candy granny will remain my favourite character in this book, but she definitely had some pretty impressive competition for that title. Ebb and Flow is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read this book.
This book got me right in the gut. I loved the poetry form in which the story was told and Jett the main character. He struggled while going through some major life changes, and makes bad choices. The story takes place with Jett spending the summer with his loving grandma. She constantly encourages him to look for the good parts of himself and to become more of those things. Jett is loveable because he is a flawed 11-year-old and every reader can relate to that kid inside of themselves. Trigger warning: drunk driving, death, abuse I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.