The Line Tender by Kate Allen

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It’s the end of June and I haven’t really read anything that took my breath away so far this year.  I hate to say it but I was getting to the point of saying, “Maybe this isn’t the year for juvenile fiction… maybe there will be a dry spell.”  I didn’t even post a review last week… I was feeling bored, uninspired, and just not thrilled to review anything. It is well known that most of the “Newberry Bait” books come out later in the year but honestly, nothing good from last Fall until Spring is just TOO long.  In my library cooperation we have a Mock Awards Meeting each year. Leading up to this meeting, we break up into subcommittees for each award, read, and rate as many star reviewed books as we can. I get SLJ at my library and add it to the spreadsheet. To be honest, it has absolutely failed to star actual star worthy books this time around.  I haven’t been interested or excited about any of the books coming out of SLJ’s reviews. So I turned to our spreadsheet to start reading from other reviews. Which is how The Line Tender ended up on my reading list. I started it fully expecting it to be another dud. The title sort of seemed… boringly mature…
But the story was deep, unexpected, and wonderful.  I was ENJOYING it. Something that really hasn’t happened for me much this year.  I gasped as the plot took off in a direction I did not see coming. I flew through it and ended it thinking “Maybe it’s not the books that are off, maybe it’s SLJ.”  Anyway at the end of the book I agree that it can’t be titled anything else: “The primary diver enters the water tethered to a search line… the line tender holds the line above the surface.  The Primary diver descends through the dark and cold until; he hits the bottom [where] touch is the only useful; sense. He gives a tug on the line to let the line tender now he has reached bottom.  The line tender holds the line and directs the diver…” This book is the line tender, directing the reader searching the bottom of unexplained and uncontrollable life events to find the surface again.
For Those That Liked: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Summerlost, The Someday Birds
For Ages: 9 years old and up