A gorgeously written and emotionally resonant debut. Kate Allen has produced a first novel that confidently navigates timeless middle grade terrain—family, grief, and hope for the future—with grace and wit.
An inspiring and charming heroine. Readers who loved the resilient, determined protagonists of The Thing About Jellyfish and Counting by Sevens will find a new favorite in Lucy Everhart.
A hilarious and ecclectic supporting cast. Allen surrounds Lucy with an irresistible group of friends and neighbors. There’s not a generic character anywhere in her Rockport, and if Mr. Patterson in particular doesn’t steal your heart, see a doctor.
An elegant, subtle connection between girls and STEM. Lucy’s encounter with her mother’s work and with her mother’s female protégé encourages readers to make deep connections between science and art.
A strong sense of place. Allen is a native New Englander, and her vivid and specific memories of her own childhood help her render Lucy’s Rockport.
“In following the adaptation of sharks to a shifting ecology, The Line Tender speaks to our own human capacity to adapt to loss—and Lucy’s losses are profound. This is a novel that stirs our deepest hope that we can survive profound change, that we can even move into new channels that will support us and nourish us and point us toward what we had never anticipated. This is a celebration of our ability to survive.”—Gary Schmidt, Newbery and Printz Honoree and National Book Award Finalist
“Lucy’s mother once swam with sharks. Now Lucy’s own healing is profoundly tied to these most feared creatures of the deep. Her journey of recovery, conveyed by Kate Allen in this lovely debut novel, is as captivating as the beauty and wonder of the natural world Lucy discovers over one eventful summer. This richly textured story calls us to our most pressing business on earth: to understand and respect the stunningly complex creatures around us before they disappear forever.”—Margi Preus, author of Heart of a Samuri, a Newbery Honor Book
“Holy fish, this is a graceful, honest, special book. The Line Tender is a story of resilience. It’s about how unbelievably strong and resourceful kids can be. About the real magic in the world—the magic of science, the magic of survival, and the magic of love.”—Laurel Snyder, author of the National Book Award longlisted Orphan Island
“Heartbreaking and astonishingly beautiful.”—Joy McCullough, author of the National Book Award longlisted Blood Water Paint
“Smart, heartbreaking, and beautifully-written, this is the kind of book that will be swimming in the back of your brain months after you read it.”
—Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, The Red Balloon, St. Paul, MN
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