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Bounce Hardcover – September 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–8—At her 13th-birthday dinner, Evyn's hippie father, Birdie, drops a bomb. He is going to marry Eleni Gartos, a college professor with six children, and Evyn and her 15-year-old brother will be leaving their home in Maine and moving to Boston with him. Evyn feels that her world has collapsed, while Mackey just asks to have two desserts. Feeling alone, the girl begins a dialogue with her dead mother as she imagines her. Friend captures the emotions and angst of a teen on the brink of womanhood thrust into a large, vocal stepfamily while having to share her father with a woman she hardly knows and a house full of stepsiblings. Throughout her ups and downs, Birdie's love remains constant, her stepsiblings are accepting, and her brother is transforming himself from a nerdy computer geek into a fledgling thespian. When her stepmother becomes pregnant, Evyn sets out to hop a bus to Maine. The beginnings of acceptance and possibilities are ignited as she learns to follow her inner "wise woman"—her mother's advice-and to "bounce" with the changes in her life. Friend offers no fairy-tale ending but presents, through hip conversations and humor, believable characters and a feel-good story with a satisfying amount of pathos.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Award-winning author of Perfect, Natasha Friend was born in Norwich, New York. Upon receiving her B.A. in Psychology in 1994 from Bates College, Natasha went on to Clemson University to earn her M.A. in English in 1997. As a former camp director and English teacher, Natasha enjoys singing and song-lyric writing and plans to write more books in the future. Her first book, Perfect, poignantly probes the hushed struggles of body image, eating disorders, and grief. Perfect has won the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature and Book Sense’s Pick. When commenting on Perfect, Booklist wrote, “Friend elevates what could have been just another problem novel to a truly worthwhile read of great interest to many girls.”

Natasha’s newest title, Lush, boldly delves into the tumultuous life and mind of a thirteen-year-old girl whose father is an alcoholic. Samantha must cope with sadness, secrecy, and shame in addition to her own teenage trials. Just when Samantha’s skin toughens and emotions numb, it gets worse for her. Natasha wrote this book in an effort to spotlight the proverbial “elephant in the room,” so that its presence is acknowledged and removed.

Natasha currently resides in Connecticut with her husband, Erik, and sons, Jack and Ben.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439853508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439853507
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Natasha Friend was born to an English professor father and a poet/actress mother. She was raised in a house without a television. At the time, she thought this was the worst form of child abuse. Now, she understands the method to her parents' madness: they wanted her to be a reader.

Spending most of her childhood at the Hamilton Public Library, Natasha found her mecca, the young-adult section, and her hero, Judy Blume. She, too, wanted to write stories about girls who felt alone. Girls whose parents were screw-ups. Girls with spunk and spirit and resolve.

Natasha began dictating stories to her father, who typed them up on his 1930's Remington typewriter. Most involved rainbows, unicorns, and poor orphan girls discovering treasure.

She knew she was supposed to be a writer in seventh grade, when a sweet boy gave her a love poem and she felt compelled to correct it for syntax and rhyme scheme.

Today, Natasha is the award-winning author of Perfect, Lush, Bounce, For Keeps, and My Life in Black and White.

When she isn't writing, she is building forts and making chocolate-chip pancakes.

Natasha lives on the Connecticut shoreline with her husband, three children, and dog, Beckett.

Visit her at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on July 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Evyn's father has just announced that he is getting remarried, and they will be moving from Maine to Boston immediately. With barely time to say good-bye to her best friend, Jules, Evyn finds herself living with a constantly smiling and cooking stepmother and five new step-siblings.

Evyn's mother died in a car accident when Evyn was only one. Since then it's been just her brother Mackey and their dad, who they both call Birdie. Things have gone along just fine. Now her world has turned upside down.

It is one major adjustment at a time. There is a new school to get used to. A group of popular girls seems ready to admit Evyn into their sacred circle, but she soon finds out it's because they have a total fascination with her new stepbrother, Ajax. Then there's the loud, over-friendly stepmother to contend with, and the sudden changes that have her father acting like someone she's never met before.

In an effort to deal with all of the change, Evyn finds herself continuing the mental conversations she's been having with her dead mother for as long as she can remember. It helps for a while, but Evyn eventually realizes she is going to need to make some adjustments and learn to live in this new and strange family arrangement.

Natasha Friend, author of Perfect: A Novel and Lush, takes readers on the roller coaster ride that is Evyn's new life. You'll feel her frustration, sadness, and fear on every page.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 18, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Disappointing. This book is on the Rebecca Caudill List for grades 6-8 in the state of Illinois. I was shocked at some of the content of this story- she walks in on her father and stepmother showering together, her naked step-mother gives her the Heimlich when she chokes on a grape, and other references to sex. That's fine for a high school book, but not middle school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen Keyte VINE VOICE on August 29, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Here's how Evyn's father broked the news: he took Evyn and her brother Mackey out for seafood and once they were stuffing their faces he just let it fly, "'Kids, I'm getting married.' Then, `We're moving to Boston.' And there you have it. Blammo! Life as we know it, over."

Just that quickly, everything in Evyn's life changes, and changes drastically. For twelve of her thirteen years, it's been Evyn, her brother and her father. Just the three of them living next to the ocean on the coast of Maine in a house with a big backyard. Now they are moving into her father's fiancee's house with her stepmother-to-be and five of her six kids.

Evyn's miserable, but she doesn't know what to do about it and doesn't want to let it show. Her father seems so happy with his new family, in fact, he hardly seems like the same person Evyn grew up with. Even Mackey is content with their crazy new life and their `mandatory moments of family bonding.' Evyn knows she should try to adjust, to bounce along with all the changes, but somehow she just can't.

Natasha Friend captures the anger, insecurity and sadness that often come with a beloved parent's second marriage. Evyn's vulnerability, as well as her stubborn refusal to like anything about her new situation, are perfectly portrayed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Evyn has never felt like she's completely fit in, but she can generally make do. And she was doing just fine with her wacky father, her nerdy older brother, and her best friend Jules, but now her father is getting remarried. It's been twelve years since Evyn's mother died, but Evyn doesn't want to trade what little memories she has of her mother for a woman she barely knows and that woman's six children, not to mention a new home in an entirely new setting. It's almost too much change for Evyn to handle at once. How's a girl supposed to accept all this new when all she wants is for the old to be back?

Bounce is a sweet and moving coming of age story. Friend captures the awkward tween/teen years so well in Evyn's character. Thirteen is a borderline age, when the real teenage years loom ever closer and you're torn between wanting to stay the same forever and wishing you were much cooler. Evyn has to deal with all this, her friends trading her for popularity and her new classmates' appearances pressuring her to change the way she dresses, in addition to an even greater change--a new family. Evyn is very resistant to this change because all the new additions to her life are too overwhelming to just take in a stride. Friend portrays this angst so realistically, and in a way readers can relate to. Readers will love Evyn and sympathize with her because of the emotional trials she faces but also because of how she learns to deal with all the changes in her life. Though Evyn responds in a childish way at first, she matures throughout the story into a more understanding young lady. This understanding and eventual acceptance is what makes Bounce so sweet. It reminds the readers that the future always holds something to look forward to.

Bounce is a good pick for any teen or tween in a rut. I recommend this novel for fans of Perfect by Natasha Friend, Class Favorite by Taylor Morris, and The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer.
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By William W. Moorhead on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bounce by Natasha Friend was a touching story about a teenage girl's struggle to find herself and cope with her quickly changing life. Evyn's mother had died when she was extremely young, to the point that she could barely remember spending time with her. However, Evyn grew up loving her mom more each and every day. She wanted to have known her more than anything in the world--she even spoke to her at night. Her father Birdie was always talking about how wonderful and beautiful and amazing Evyn's mom was, which only made her miss her mother more. That's why her world was turned completely upside down when her father told her that he was getting married to Eleni, a professor with five children. Before she knew it, Evyn was leaving her entire life behind her and moving to Boston just so she could be thrust into a whole new world and a whole new family. She was miserable at first but she used her mother's words to get through it all. When they "talked" at night, her mom would always say "bounce"...let the tough stuff bounce right off of you because it can't touch you. It was hard for Evyn but she managed to find comfort with her new family and accept her new life. She realizes that the situation isn't that bad and that she can get through it. In the end, Evyn is happy. She learns a whole lot more about who she is and life.
I really liked this book because it got a fantastic message across-that you can make the best of any situation. And that sometimes you can learn a lot from things that you think will do nothing but harm. It wasn't as challenging as I had hoped for, and wasn't stellar but it was a joy to read. There was a great storyline and you really felt for the characters which I liked.
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