Allen, K. (2019). The Line Tender. Puffin Books.
Category: Middle-grade realistic fiction
Summary: Twelve-year-old Lucy Everhart deals with unimaginable grief and loss while attempting to find solace in finishing what her marine-biologist mother started.
Theme: Even loss brings new beginnings.
Generalizations: death, loss, grief, family, friendship, love
Potential uses in the classroom: The Line Tender can be used to talk about literacy elements such as setting and plot, but especially the richly complex characters. This book can also be used to explore the use of metaphors. Thematically, the book can be used to discuss relationships, death and grief, and living through loss.
Melissa’s note: I saw this book on a table for middle-grade reads at the bookstore. Because I tend to gravitate toward children’s picture books or young adult novels, I have been purposefully adding to my collection of middle-grade books. I was first attracted to this book because of the cover. I have always been fascinated—and slightly terrified—by sea creatures. I often have nightmares of sharks, so the fact that sharks feature so prominently in this book intrigued me. Perhaps that merits further exploration? I was also intrigued by the title, The Line Tender. What is a line tender? What does that mean? I don’t want to give away the plot, but suffice it to say a book has not inspired such passionate tears since The Fault in Our Stars. This is truly one of the most remarkable and beautiful stories I have read in a long time. If you choose to read this in your classroom, have tissues on hand and be prepared for some heavy discussions.