With National Poetry Month coming to an end, here are two new novels in verse featuring young teens navigating difficult situations:
Ebb & Flow – Heather Smith
Kids Can Press
Jett has not had a great year – after his father goes to jail for his involvement in a drunk driving accident, he and his mother move away for a “fresh start” that doesn’t go the way either of them wanted. Now, Jett is back on the Eastern coast to spend the summer with his Grandma Jo, who speaks in puns and tells him stories about herself at his age, a young Joanna. Slowly, Jett tells his own story, and struggles with wanting things to go back to how they were while also hoping the summer will help him move on from the mistakes of the past year.
As Grandma Jo says:
“…life is like the tides.
You just have to go with the flow, you know?” (p. 177)
Told in verse from Jett’s perspective, Ebb & Flow mimics the tides it refers to – swelling with emotion, pulling back, and surging again as Jett reveals his truths and secrets.
Knockout – K. A. Holt
Levi was born prematurely, and as a result he’s smaller than most of his classmates. And while sometimes he needs an inhaler or gets tired easily, he’s still mighty, and wants to prove he’s not as weak as his mom and brother think. When his dad offers to pay for a sport – any sport – he chooses boxing. That will show everyone how strong he is, right?
Shape poetry and Levi’s quick and punchy voice give this novel in verse plenty of heart. Readers will cheer for Levi as he makes his way through seventh grade, trying to avoid drama, keep his friendship with Tam, and impress everyone with his boxing.