Rupp skillfully weaves Daniel’s memories of larger-than-life Eli and his lingering anger about his death with Daniel’s day-to-day challenges, including his dysfunctional family; his frustrations with his popular but conventional friends; his attraction to Isabelle, a gorgeous and free-spirited newcomer to town; and his nascent friendship with school outcast Walter… The pain running through the narrative is tempered with hope, humor, and resilience, offering insight into the anguish of those left behind.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Danny’s nostalgic first-person narration includes interestingly quirky information as well as sweet moments. Middle school readers will see the inevitable end of this first love long before Danny faces it, grieving his new loss but grateful for his healing. Far more than a summer romance, this is a tribute to those left behind.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The tone of this first-person narrative isn’t maudlin or morbid, it’s smart and searching, and the well structured story quietly builds to a moving climax and a worthy, satisfying conclusion.
—Booklist (starred review)
Rupp’s poignant bildungsroman is therapeutic, particularly for those readers who have experienced the unimaginable loss of a loved one.
—School Library Journal
Those who connect will find a profound yet unpretentious story and a resilient, relatable protagonist.
—The Horn Book
This is a hard-hitting book that fosters healthy and honest discussions about death, war, love, and moving forward even when it’s nearly impossible.
—Letter Blocks (Barnes & Noble blog)