Sometimes I am discouraged by the overwhelming number of middle grade fantasy novels that are published. As a tween, I loved realistic fiction novels, and find my oldest daughter struggling to find realistic fiction books that she can enjoy as she wades through all the fantasy books that are published to find the handful of novels that appeal to her.
The Perfect Place by Teresa Harris is a perfect realistic fiction novel for a tween reader who can handle some grown up themes and ideas.
Treasure Daniels is making the best of the hand she has been dealt. Her father has abandoned their family as he searches for a new home and a new job. Her mother leaves Treasure and her younger sister, Tiffany, with Great Aunt Grace as she attempts to find her husband.
Although Tiffany misses her mother, she seems to be adjusting to Great Aunt Grace and her temporary home. Treasure is angry with her mother and her father and unhappy in her new circumstances.
As the story unfolds, Treasure, Tiffany, and Great Aunt Grace learn a little about each other and come to depend on one another. It is no surprise that there is more to Grace than the tough exterior she shows initially, and her relationship with Treasure develops throughout the novel.
The Perfect Place is a great novel to hand to the tween readers at my school. My seventh and fifth grade daughters have also given it their stamp of approval.