14 Hollow Road

288p. Knopf. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101938751.
Gr 4–6—Sixth grader Maddie is excited to go to the school dance, where she's hoping to spend time with her crush, Avery. Instead, her best friend Kiersten's new BFF Gabby dances with Avery. Meanwhile, a tornado levels Maddie's and Avery's homes while they are at the dance, and the two must take shelter at a neighbor's house for the rest of the summer; much drama ensues. Living with her crush in such close proximity intensifies Maddie's social anxiety and forces her to examine her feelings. Unfortunately, the characterizations are uneven. While Maddie's awkward avoidance tactics are authentic and relatable, some of her internal thoughts come across as overly adult and preachy, and her narration relies too much on telling and not enough on showing. The hopeful tone and conversational writing style make this an accessible read, though the message may be a bit too on the nose for some.
VERDICT An additional purchase for large collections, especially those in need of wholesome realistic fiction.

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