From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—Kyle's father left his family in February to "think things out." Now it's summer, and the 12-year-old and his mother and siblings are staying at their cabin by a Michigan lake, on an island that Kyle plans to explore. It's just like always, except that this visit will be their last. With her husband gone, Kyle's mother is forced to put the cabin, which has been in her family for years, on the market. The boy is devastated. This year is also different in that Kyle's sisters are keeping secrets from him, and they develop a great interest in the boys who live nearby. As the summer slips away, Kyle spends most of his time fishing either alone or with his elderly neighbor, who teaches him not to take people at face value. His worst fears are realized when the cabin is sold. This story moves slowly and is primarily a study of the protagonist's personal development. His feelings of rejection and anger ring true for someone his age, and he eventually begins to look at a situation from more than one angle. The other characters are one-dimensional and remain in the background. Additional.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
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When Kyle and his family return to their beloved lake cottage in Michigan, his mother drops the bomb that this will be their last summer there. Newly divorced, she feels forced to sell the property to make ends meet. A veteran fisherman at age 13, and very much tuned into lake life and nature’s simple pleasures, Kyle rages at the prospect and boils inwardly at his father for causing the family’s upheaval. Stung by loss, and out of sorts with this unwelcome transition in his life, Kyle trudges through the days of what was supposed to be a great summer. He also makes a quest out of exploring an uninhabited island in the lake. When he connects with a somewhat mysterious neighbor and takes him on fishing excursions, Kyle learns more about the island and begins to feel empathy for other people’s stories. A sensitive coming-of-age tale that does not tie up ends too neatly. Grades 5-8. --Anne O'Malley