From an acclaimed author comes a cheerful, uplifting story of family and belonging, the first in a series perfect for fans of the Vanderbeekers and the Penderwicks.
If you want to get to know eleven-year-old Samantha Ali-O’Connor, you need to know three things:
One, she isn’t the only one of her siblings who is adopted, but she is the only one whose name isn't inspired by the ocean.
Two, she and Harbor always compete with each other to be the best Oldest Sibling—and just about everything else.
And three, she is determined to prove she's a real Ali-O'Connor by taking over the family business, repairing and chartering boats.
Except there's a Capital-P Problem: Her mothers have been Serious Whispering about selling the business before summer's end! Sam needs to come up with a plan, quick, before Harbor finds out. And before Sam loses her chance to inherit the business and be an Ali-O'Connor forever.
Nicole Melleby, a New Jersey native, is the author of highly praised middle-grade books, including the Lambda Literary finalist Hurricane Season, ALA Notable book How to Become a Planet, Camp QUILTBAG (co-written with A. J. Sass), and The House on Sunrise Lagoon series. She's also the author of Sunny and Oswaldo, her debut picture book. She lives with her wife and their cats, whose need for attention oddly aligns with Nicole’s writing schedule. Visit her online at nicolemelleby.com.
"Moments of madcap humor and familial warmth characterize this emotionally generous summer tale from Melleby, which showcases the author’s command of fully realized characterization and distinct relationship dynamics.”—Publishers Weekly
"Layered family dynamics run through the heart of this character-driven story in which the love and devotion shared are as sure as the tides… An enjoyable and heartwarming read.”—Kirkus
“The Ali-O'Connors are an appealing bunch, each with their own quirks and foibles. The rivalry between Sam (who is adopted) and slightly older sister Harbor (Mom's biological child) is both believable and heart-wrenching at times; Marina (also adopted) is book-loving and reserved; and younger twins Cordelia and Lir (Mama's biological children) add humorous, relatable moments to the story. Perhaps most heartwarming is the tentative alliance that develops between Sam and Harbor as they team up to help Mom.”
Praise for The Science of Being Angry:
"This emotional read shows the power of friendship and family without omitting the work that goes into loving someone."—Booklist, starred review
"A strong recommendation for readers who enjoy contemplative, character-driven stories like those by Ashley Herring Blake."—School Library Journal, starred review
Praise for How to Become a Planet:
"Sprinkled with astronomy-related metaphors related to a planet’s properties, this acutely observed, authentically told tale by Melleby thoughtfully portrays Pluto’s relationship with her worried single mother, the girl’s urgent desire to 'be fixed,' and her intense—and at times overpowering—depressive episodes."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A raw yet honest portrayal of a young person’s experience with depression, this is a must-read for both middle grade readers and the teachers, counselors, parents, and other adults who interact daily with youth undergoing similar experiences."—School Library Journal, starred review
Praise for In the Role of Brie Hutchens. . .:
"This funny, tender, and heart-wrenching story will have readers calling for an encore."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Melleby paints Brie as a recognizable teen. . . Wrenching and genuine."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for Hurricane Season:
"Melleby’s debut offers a tender, earnest portrait of a daughter searching for constancy while negotiating her father’s sickness and the social challenges of tween girlhood, including her first crush on a girl."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Melleby deftly tackles weighty topics—mental illness, child protective services, single parenting, sexuality—while effortlessly weaving in elements of the life and works of Vincent van Gogh, creating a thoughtful, age-appropriate and impressive novel."—Shelf Awareness, starred review