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  • Aug 8, 2010
I don't read alot of middle grade books, but, for some reason, both the cover and the storyline of this one called to me.

Fortunately, I was not disappointed, as author Kent has written a deliciously funny, yet touching novel about a modern family - even if the family is not your usual dad, mom and 2.2 kids. In fact, one of the things I loved about this novel is that it is not typical, but rather, it takes a portrait of a family - showing it in all its glory - the good AND the bad and everything in between.

The main character Tess is wonderful - very smart, clever and self-reliant - i loved, loved this. The backstory of mental illness is wonderfully crafted, showing us that life is full of ups and downs and it truly is HOW you choose to deal with it that makes all the difference.

This book is a great little read for anyone who wants an interesting storyline, backed by a few solid positive messages.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and actually pretty well read it in one sitting.

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Tina Avon ()
Ranked #347
I am a yoga/pilates book freak. I have always loved to read and have been reading since I was a little girl. I have, however, only discovered yoga and pilates in the last few years and I have been striving … more
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Grade 5–7—Tess Dobson's life is complicated. Her younger brother, Jordan, is deaf and prone to bouts of behavior as "FrankenJordan." Her mother walks the narrow ledge of bipolar disorder, a walk that always seems to end in "shooting stars" or a crash. To make things even more complicated, Ma has decided to move the family from Texas to Schenectady, NY, where she uses all of their savings to open an ice-cream shop. Despite the promises that Schenectady will hold all the answers to their problems, this new town brings its own set of complications, which include living at a senior citizens' complex. Tess struggles with these difficulties but unexpectedly finds the support she never knew she needed. Through it all, there is ice cream. This book is sweet and leaves a relatively pleasant taste much like the rocky-road ice cream that serves as a metaphor for Tess's life. Due respect is paid to the challenges of having a parent who suffers from bipolar disorder, as well as the disorder itself. Tess seems much older than her 12 years but this is in keeping with her family situation. Her involvement with peer mediation is slightly contrived but it is necessary to her growth. As the Dobsons say, "Ice cream warms the heart…," and so will this book.—Naphtali L. Faris, Saint Louis Public Library, MO
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