Sometimes life can just wallop you in the head like the missile of the title.
So 13-year-old Marley learns when her parents separate, her dad moves out and starts weeding his garden incessantly, the relationship with her two best girlfriends starts to unravel for good—and she meets Jack, a great-looking, baseball-loving boy. Then, to top it all off, she has to spend the summer with her father in his new house and deal with the job he's lined up for her—caring for two adorable but bratty, needy 5-year-old twins, daughters of a neighbor who may or may not be Dad's new girlfriend. Readers have seen this all before, but Vernick makes a very auspicious fiction debut here with her breezy, briskly paced tale, well-portrayed characters, authentic relationships and keen ear for realistic dialogue. The sweet, swoony young romance doesn't hurt either, and preteen female readers will eat this up and learn a wise and wistful thing or two about friendships, including when and how to walk away and start new ones. The author also handles the parents' separation and Marley's learning how to cope with it and life's inevitable changes successfully and with sensitivity.
A nicely reassuring read with a satisfying ending; a harbinger of more good novels to come from this author.ÃÂ (Fiction. 10-13)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Gr 4-7--Seventh-graders Jane, Leah, and Marley have been best friends forever, riding bikes, playing their own version of Monopoly, and enjoying their annual water-balloon blitz. Then Marley's father moves out, and everything changes. She has to spend the summer with him in his new place where nothing is familiar. Jane and Leah are going to theater camp and are inseparable, and Marley's dad has gotten her a job babysitting twins. When Jane invites Marley to her pool party (complete with high school boys), Marley decides that this is the perfect time for the blitz, but she quickly realizes that she has made a mistake. Jane and Leah have outgrown Monopoly, the water balloons, and her. Luckily, there is Jack, the boy who just might make the summer memorable for Marley. The book moves along at a pace that will keep tweens interested, and the dialogue among the characters feels real. Marley's relationships with her friends and family are complex, and even the most reluctant readers will relate to her and the choices that she makes. Put this book on your "must-have" list. It won't stay on the shelves long.--Tammy DiBartolo, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, LA[Page 150]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.