We recently had a delivery of new books, and I grabbed several to read right off the bat. Yes, folks, the privilege of librarianship is getting to see the books first. One of the books I grabbed was Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson.
Oh, you guys. This. Book. So good.
Annabel’s mother has scheduled her daughter’s entire life. She’s hardly had a free moment in years. Annabel has finally come to the point that she feels so restricted that she cannot breathe, and starts having panic attacks. Her throat is so tight that she cannot swallow food. Her psychiatrist orders her parents to give her a summer of freedom—freedom to eat, or not, as she chooses, to decide where she wants to go, and what she wants to do without unreasonable supervision. Naturally, this is difficult for her mother.
They make their annual summer visit to the family farm, and there is a new girl named California at the farm next door, who is staying with her grandfather to help him get through cancer treatments. She is loud and adventurous, and strong—a diametric opposite to Annabel. California’s mother and grandfather are estranged, and she is determined to help them reconcile. She has a plan, and enlists Annabel to help her with the plan. Can Annabel help her new friend despite the restrictions her mother keeps trying to impose on her freedom?
I loved this story of an overscheduled girl making friends with a free spirited girl. The book has a lot to say about relationships, forgiveness, and regret. I really can’t say too much without giving things away, but there is more going on than meets the eye. There is a classic, award winning book that this reminds me of, but if I tell you what it is, I’ll totally give it away. So, go out, read the book, then quick write me a comment and tell me if this reminds you of any other book.
Go ahead. I’ll wait right here.