14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The night of the sixth-grade dance is supposed to be perfect for Maddie: she'll wear her perfect new dress, hit the dance floor with her friends, and her crush, Avery, will ask her to dance. But as the first slow song starts to play, her plans crumble. Avery asks someone else to dance instead--and then the power goes out. Huddled in the gym, Maddie and her friends are stunned to hear that a tornado has ripped through the other side of town, destroying both Maddie's and Avery's homes.
Kind neighbors open up their home to Maddie's and Avery's families, which both excites and horrifies Maddie. Sharing the same house . . . with Avery? For the entire summer? While it buys her some time to prove that Avery made the wrong choice at the dance, it also means he'll be there to witness her morning breath and her annoying little brother. At the dance, all she wanted was to be more grown-up. Now that she has no choice, is she really ready for it?
I loved the premise of this book, and it didn't disappoint. While it begins with the tragedy of of Maddie losing her home to a tornado, it's mostly the sweet story of a girl growing up, navigating changing friendships, and dealing with a crush. Set in Massachusetts, where tornadoes are a rarity, it's the details that make this book so wonderful.
I especially loved Maddie's relationship with her younger brother -- while he's exasperating at times, she's protective of him. The details worked into the changing friendship dynamics between Maddie, her best friend, and the new girl in town are also so very realistic, and call to mind all those feelings of being left out and jealousy that happen at twelve years old. Maddie also has to deal with loss of her dog, who can't be found after the tornado. Her feelings about this are also spot-on.
This is a little thing, but as a kid whose mom worked and as mom who works, I really appreciated a book where the main character and her friends spend the summer at various camps, rather than hanging out at home or around the neighborhood. A really great read altogether!