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June 01 , 2010

Second-Chance Summer


Nine-year-old Katie Jordan’s story began with the well-reviewed Turkey Monster Thanksgiving, Tails of Spring Break, and Bittersweet Summer (published by Albert Whitman & Co.).

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It is mid 21st century. Alex, a young Greek astronomer is leading a research team assigned to examine unexplored areas of the solar system in search of possible signs of life. After dedicating much time and effort they come up with some positive results on IO, the mysterious moon of Jupiter. To further investigate the discovery, a highly qualified…

Katie’s latest GREAT IDEA is to showcase her dog Lucy in a neighborhood talent show. But when Lucy forgets her spectacular roll-over trick, the show is in trouble. Katie doesn’t give up, however, and is joined in the project by her forever friend Sierra and her sometime friend Claire. Planning the show takes over their summer vacation.

Katie and Claire both live with single dads. When Claire’s dad falls in love, Claire embraces the idea of having a mother, but refuses to accept that her new family will include a brother – the awful Alex, a boy she disliked through all of fourth grade.

Katie, in the meantime, worries about losing touch with her own mother who left home three years earlier to become a professional singer. Their weekly phone calls are full of silences, and the upcoming “Mom visit” threatens to be a chore for both of them. At the same time, Katie is thrilled that her dad is maybe falling in love with the wonderful Ms. Morgan, her former fourth grade teacher. Katie and Claire face the confusing pros and cons of getting new mothers.

Alex, who knows how to juggle knives and flaming torches, enters into talent show preparations. When Claire refuses to try to like him, the girls scheme to locate Alex’s mysteriously missing father. The father, they reason, surely will want Alex to live with him after his mother remarries. Claire secretly invites Alex’s father to their show, not knowing that he and Alex carry a terrible secret.

Will the talent show really happen? Will Lucy remember her fancy trick? Will Katie and her mom discover what they have in common? Will Claire’s family someday include a brother?

Most of all, what do Katie and Claire learn about friendships, and how families grow and change?

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