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The Ethan I Was Before Hardcover – January 24, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Ethan and his family relocate from Boston to Palm Knot, GA, ostensibly to help Ethan's grandfather as he gets older. Yet it quickly becomes clear that the real reason is Ethan; he has experienced a tragic incident involving his best friend Kasey, and his parents think a new place will bring a new start. On top of Ethan's guilt from the accident, he must make new friends at school, deal with his brother Roddie's dissatisfaction with their new home, and witness the arguments between his mother and grandfather, who don't get along for mysterious reasons. This title is packed with conflict and familial and personal strife. Debut author Standish skillfully weaves the events and characters into the fabric of a story that is emotionally charged and well-developed. Ethan is a sensitive and lost soul, grappling with the emotions of a typical adolescent boy and the turmoil of a traumatic event. His new friend Coralee is exciting and enticing and the kind of friend any young person might wish for or strive to be. Ethan's grandfather is also an amusing and fascinating character, wise and sympathetic to the struggling Ethan. As the mysteries unfold—What was the accident, and how did Kasey get hurt? Who is the mystery woman in the creepy house down the lane? Why don't Grandpa and Ethan's mother get along?—there is never a dull moment, and the rapid pace keeps readers engaged. VERDICT Ambitious but never convoluted, this novel is a fine addition to middle grade collections, especially those seeking nuanced realistic fiction.—Kaitlin Malixi, Bucks County Free Library, Doylestown, PA
“Debut author Standish boldly tackles themes of death, guilt, and forgiveness in this tender coming-of-age story. Readers will be riveted as Ethan, his family, and other well-developed characters face the somber realities of life head on.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A moving debut. An uplifting book that explores the way grief evolves through the power of remembrance.” (ALA Booklist)
“A deft balance between storytelling and accessible reflection for the middle-school reader.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Top customer reviews
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Perfect for middle grade readers! Readers who loved Swing Sideways, The Thing about Jelly & Just My Luck will be drawn to Ethan's story! I'm a fifth grade teacher & immediately added this title to my Mock Newbery 2018 reading list! It's that good!
Wow. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this book. I could not put it down. The characters were real, flawed, and struggling to deal with their own demons. When Ethan meets the many colorful characters in his new town, I love how Ethan learns from them and learns how to forgive himself. This is a must-read book for grades four and up. Do not let this one sit on your TBR pile for long!
I could NOT put this book down. Standish managed to take me by surprise at every corner. More importantly, I really loved Ethan, Coralee, Ike, and so many other characters - so many broken and beautiful people trying to figure out how to live out love and hope.
I highly recommend it to anyone middle grade and above!
Most recent customer reviews
Ethan thought, "I knew I had to try one more time. I waited for my chance, for the opportunity when Mom and Dad would leave me home with just...Read more