by Linda Urban
Harcourt, 2011, 152 p. Realistic Fiction
Eleven year old Mattie is a shy girl and making friends is agonizing for her. She and her mother come to live one summer in her mother's family home with her uncle who is a janitor at the local grade school. Mattie decides that if she can become her uncle's special janitor's helper, she can hang around with him before and after school, and during lunch and she won't have to face the other kids at her new school. She is a sweet and intelligent girl, but she has been bullied before and is insecure when her new neighbor shows interest in being her friend. Linda Urban has an amazing view into a young girl's inner thoughts. In both her first novel, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, which won several awards, and this one, we see the main characters' little emotional waves and tides--what they hope and think will happen, and how they feel when it does or doesn't. This is a great book about overcoming the effects of bullying and learning to trust again.