Several years ago I was introduced to Audrey Couloumbis' work when her novel Getting Near to Baby received a Newbery Honor medal. I loved that book, and have read a few more of her books since, all which I have enjoyed.
This year Couloumbis' latest book, Jake, was one I was excited to purchase for my school library. Yesterday on a road trip to meet my new nephew (he is now just three days old) I had a few hours to read and chose Jake to entertain me.
I really enjoyed this one - a perfect fit for me - a lover of realistic fiction. The story is very believable, and while Jake has obstacles he must overcome, the story doesn't become overdone with too many horrible things being thrown at the main character.
Jake and his mom are out grocery shopping on a Saturday in December when his mother slips on some ice and falls under the car. Her leg is broken, requiring an ambulance trip to the hospital and surgery. Jake is just ten, without any close family to call. Luckily he does have an elderly neighbor lady who Jake is close to. And, one of the hospital workers calls Jake's grandfather, a man Jake cannot even remember ever having met. After Jake's dad died, there was little contact between Jake's mom and his grandfather. Now with his mother in the hospital, Jake's grandfather arrives and the two begin a relationship, getting to know each other after all these years. With the holidays fast approaching Jake begins to understand what different forms a family can take.
This is just a nice story without too much drama, but still with a message. Because it is not too long my students will nto be overwhelmed by this novel. I'm expecting to find lots of kids wanting to read this one.