Thursday, August 4, 2022

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Our Little World, by Karen Winn {ends 8/11}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The summer of 1986, the hot weather arrived – swimming weather – but Deer Chase Lake remained closed. “They found bacteria in the lake,” Mother told Audrina and me one June morning over breakfast, “so it’s not going to open for a while. They have to clean it.”

I nodded, feeling relieved, and swirled around the milk in my cereal bowl to douse the remaining Cheerios that were still partially dry.

Audrina snorted. “Who’d want to go there anyway?”

I glanced up from my bowl of cereal, surprised that we were in agreement on this, albeit silently, when we still felt so far apart.

This isn’t just a story of a four-year-old who goes missing from the beach. It’s her neighbor Bee’s insights surrounding the tumultuous summer and all the changes this initiated in her life and other lives in the community over the next year. It’s the story of how one thing happening can change everything, forever.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Our Little World, by Karen Winn {ends 8/11}
July 1985. It’s a normal, sweltering New Jersey summer for soon-to-be seventh grader Bee Kocsis. Her thoughts center only on sunny days spent at Deer Chase Lake, on evenings chasing fireflies around her cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids, and on Max, the boy who just moved in across the street. There's also the burgeoning worry that she'll never be as special as her younger sister, Audrina, who seems to effortlessly dazzle wherever she goes. 

But when Max’s little sister, Sally, goes missing at the lake, Bee’s long-held illusion of stability is shattered in an instant. As the families in her close-knit community turn inward, suspicious and protective, things in Bee’s own home become increasingly strained, most of all with Audrina, when a shameful secret surfaces. With everything changed, Bee and Audrina’s already-fraught sisterhood is pushed to the limit as they grow up—and apart—in the wake of an innocence lost too soon. 

This moving story tells of young Bee’s observations about her neighborhood and her family when she’s around 12 years old, but adds a few comments about her adult reflections on these memories. It was definitely a sort of "before-and-after" summer for her. When young Sally goes missing, it not only changes the way her entire community operates, but also her personal relationships with her parents and her younger sister. Everyone is processing the grief of not having Sally around, and potentially addressing that their community may not be perfect and safe, with the hope they’re holding out that Sally has just wandered off and will return, miraculously, unscathed.

But Sally’s story isn’t always the most important one, even when Bee and her neighbors want it to be. Other people are still growing, changing, and making choices about their own lives. Adults are still good or bad parents and spouses, and everyone still has good and bad things happen, that usually have nothing to do with Sally being gone.

Bee’s viewpoint from both her young self and her comments about it all once she’s an adult were heartfelt and memorable. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and loved it not just for the amazingly realistic character Bee was, but for the wholly memorable 1980s setting for it all. This book would be recommended for those who appreciate family dramas, sister stories, and re-living the 1980s.

{click here to purchase - Kindle edition is currently 46% off!}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who enjoys relaxing with a good book, driving on a dry sunny day, or curling up with a watermelon wine to watch a thunderstorm out the window. Check out a few of her captured memories on Instagram where she posts as PoshBecki.

GIVEAWAY:

Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of Our Little World!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Thursday, August 11th, at 11:59pm ET, and winners will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Our Little World, by Karen Winn

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