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After 13-year-old Irene's father loses his high-paying job, her family leaves their penthouse apartment and elegant life to spend the summer on Irene's grandfather's upstate New York farm. Appalled at first by what feels like a lifestyle descent, Irene gradually allows herself to appreciate new freedom--riding her bike wherever she wishes, smelling fresh dirt as she helps her grandfather pot plants, and finding new friends. Demas anchors this quiet, hopeful book in today's headlines of job loss and the surprisingly vital safety nets that support families. Her adult characters are multidimensional: her once powerful father struggles with depression, her glamorous mother fights to salvage her pride, and her charming grandfather falls in love with one of his customers. Irene and her friends are delightful, down-to-earth kids, including Jim, with whom Irene happily--and tentatively--explores first love. Never saccharine, this satisfying offering, with its solid storytelling and memorable characters of all ages, should please fans of Cynthia Rylant and Richard Peck. --Booklist, March 15, 2011
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review by . October 08, 2013
A family in crisis; a teen protagonist who’s real, normal, honest and interesting; a real-world drama with genuine characters, powerful emotions, and the sweet touch of hope—what more could a reader ask for? Privileged Irene moves out of town to stay at her grandfather’s farm while Dad tries to find a job and Mom tries to hold onto her way of life. But what about Irene’s way of life? Will she end up as a scholarship girl, a fish out of water amongst her friends? Or will she …
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"Wonderful teen fiction"
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