Summary: Hidden Truths
Dani and Eric have been best friends since Dani moved next door in second grade. They bond over donuts, comic books, and camping on the Cape. But one summer, Eric saves Dani from a fire in his family’s camper. Unfortunately, the accident prevents Dani from doing what she loves the most: playing baseball. It also drives a wedge between the friends as they discover the real reason behind the fire. Can Dani forgive her best friend?
This story grabbed me from page one. I was quickly drawn into Dani and Eric’s sweet platonic friendship (and yes, these two are just friends) and the way they supported each other through their pastimes. The story is told from Dani and Eric’s perspectives, so readers really get to know both kids. Dani is brash, passionate about baseball, and the newest member of an all-boys (except her!) baseball team, eager to prove herself. Eric is a sweet, comic-loving, forgetful, artistic boy with ADHD who’s still figuring out what his passion is.
I haven’t read many middle grade books that effectively handle the heavy issue of forgiving a friend who unintentionally hurts you, and that’s what this book does brilliantly. Readers will feel Eric’s weighty guilt over whether or not his carelessness started the accident and experience the brunt of Dani’s anger as she mourns the loss of her baseball prowess and wonders whether or not her body will return to shape.
There are several other compelling subplots in this book, such as Dani’s friendship with Meadow, a schoolmate who is a bad influence in several ways, including inciting Dani to cyberbully and post false/private information on social media. Through Meadow’s story, though, we see how some kids can act out when they have a sick sibling who has most of their parents’ attention.
Finally, I enjoyed how realistic the characters and their responses were. I loved seeing Eric make new friends outside of Dani and explore his interests. I did not like Dani most of the time because of her rigidity and angst, but hopefully, readers can find some grace for her. Eric, on the other hand, was such a sweetheart!
- Death: Death of a grandparent (referenced, not on the page)
- Alcohol/substance abuse: None
- Violence: One scene depicts a fire starting in a camper, but it’s unlikely to upset readers
- Sexual: Two sixth-graders obviously have a crush on each other
- Ethnic: Most characters are cued white, Eric is cued Jewish (goes to temple)
- Sexual orientation: Passing reference to a classmate whose pronouns are “they/them/their”
Recommended for ages: 9+
Good for kids who like:
- Other books by Elly Swartz
- Books about friendship drama
- Baseball books
- Books with ADHD characters
- Stories with dual narrators
|Publisher details||Delacorte Press|
|Publication date:||October 31, 2023|
|Cover artists | Designer:|
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