I love realistic fiction for tweens. Water Balloon is Audrey Vernick's debut novel, a story for tweens experiencing first crushes, changes in their friendships and other growing pains. Marley is struggling during the summer. Her parents have split up and while Marley's mom travels, Marley spends most of her summer with her dad. She feels removed from her two best girlfriends who have decided to join an acting group without her. Although Marley has no interest in acting, she wants to still hang out with them, but when given the chance, realizes that she still enjoys the things they did for fun when they were younger, while her friends are growing up and developing different interests and different friendships. Marley's dad finds a babysitting job for her during the week while she stays with him - another thing she does not appreciate. The one happy event is Marley's friendship (and growing interest) in Jack, a neighbor who she is getting to know better. While I felt this novel started a bit slow, Marley is a likeable character, and a girl most readers will be able to relate to. As I read this book I began to enjoy Vernick's story more and more. Marley does struggle with growing up, and she feels upset that her parents break-up is affecting her, too. She struggles with her girlfriends and the fact that they are growing apart. And she tries to figure out many questions most tweens face. This is a good realistic fiction selection and a solid debut. Tween readers won't be disappointed in this book.