Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt

Published by Clarion Books

Just Like That: Schmidt, Gary D.: 9780544084773: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Meryl Lee is dealing with a huge loss in her life that has left her fighting against what she calls the Blank, the overwhelming grief she faces wherever she goes.  Her parents decide a change will be best for her, and send her to St. Elene’s Preparatory Academy for Girls on the coast of Maine for her eighth grade year.  Around the same time, a boy named Matthew Coffin finds his way to town, trying to escape his past.  In the course of a very eventful year, the two of them become friends and make important discoveries about themselves and the people around them.  Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War era, many of the characters are affected by the events overseas.  Almost everyone is dealing with some sort of loss, but each of them finds a unique resilience to go on with life and to find the courage to love once again.  387 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  Gary D. Schmidt may be in line for another Newbery, Printz, and/or National Book Award recognition for this beautiful novel that references both The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie and the Buckminister Boy.  

Cons:  If you’re a fan of The Wednesday Wars, prepare yourself for some devastating news in the first chapter.

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