Originally posted April 2007
Young adult fiction
Kevin Henkes has written a beautifully constructed lyrical tale weaving two stories into one. There are many traumas through life that children go through without the full understanding of their parents. Henkes takes two separate incidents in different families and brings them together into a story of two boys growing in friendship and healing as both arrive in neighbouring houses on Bird Lake. Mitch appears first and desperately wants to be a family in the vacant house next door to his grandparents. All his actions reveal his desperation and fear. A few days later, Spencer and his sister Lolly arrive at the vacant house Mitch so hoped to share with his mother. Mitch refuses to have anything to do with the “intruders” as he calls them, and begins trying to scare them off, but without realizing it, the only person who was scared was Spencer. The building of friendship and trust is beautiful to watch. You feel how deeply these two boys are scarred, but as they begin to trust each other they discover a lasting relationship. I felt I wanted to learn more about these boys by the end of the book, but hope is hinted at. Very well written, thoughts well communicated, and a great location. I would recommend this book to anyone from perhaps 7 or 8 and up, adults included.