JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt. New York: Clarion Books, 2021. 387p.
ISBN 978-054408477-3 hc. $16.99 Gr. 5-8 JUV
Schmidt takes readers back to the summer of 1968, when Meryl Lee Kowalski experiences crushing grief over the death of her friend and classmate, Holling Hoodhood, protagonist of THE WEDNESDAY WARS (2007). Working on their own problems, Meryl Lee's parents send her to St. Elene's Preparatory Academy for Girls, a boarding school in Maine. It is like a foreign land populated with wealthy students already sectioned off in cliques, an exacting headmistress, and a very antagonistic teacher, all of whom make Meryl Lee's life miserable. As time goes on, she makes a couple of friends, becomes an unlikely member of the soccer team, and meets Matt Coffin, a boy with a past. Eventually, most the adults pull through for their long-distance children, but readers are kept in suspense wondering about the well-being of Matt and Meryl Lee. The story takes place in 1968, when the Vietnam War weighs heavy on American hearts. This is the second spin-off from THE WEDNESDAY WARS; the first being OKAY FOR NOW (2011). Read them all!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI