I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Across the Pond by Joy McCullough
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on March 16, 2021
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Also by this author: A Field Guide to Getting Lost
From the author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost comes a heartwarming story about new beginnings, burgeoning friendships, and finding your flock.
Callie can’t wait for her new life to start. After a major friendship breakup in San Diego, moving overseas to Scotland gives her the perfect chance to reinvent herself. On top of that, she’s going to live in a real-life castle!
But as romantic as life in a castle sounds, the reality is a little less comfortable: it’s run-down, freezing, and crawling with critters. Plus, starting off on the wrong foot with the gardener’s granddaughter doesn’t help her nerves about making new friends. So she comes up with the perfect solution: she’ll be homeschooled. Her parents agree, on one condition: she has to participate in a social activity.
Inspired by a journal that she finds hidden in her bedroom, Callie decides to join a birding club. Sure, it sounds unusual, but at least it’s not sports or performing. But when she clashes with the club leader, she risks losing a set of friends all over again. Will she ever be able to find her flock and make this strange new place feel like home?
Here is what I thought
A sweet middle grade contemporary about a young girl Callie who has had a rough time with friends and peer pressure. When her parents tell her and her brother that they inherited a castle in Scotland she thinks this is just what she needed and a way to reinvent herself and be someone different and make new friends.
Things don’t go as she hoped because when her mom takes her to the school to see about registering she is introduced to a class and stumbles over her words, kids snicker and now she doesn’t want to go to the school and is afraid that things are not going to be any different. She talks her parents into letting her homeschool and they agree but she has to join a social extracurricular activity.
She isn’t good at sports and she is sure that hanging with the librarian isn’t going to cute it she finds out about a birdwatching group. The only thing is is that it’s run by a very snotty old man and is all boys. She finds out that birdwatching or twitching as they call it, is very male oriented. They can only count the male birds when looking for them, females don’t count. She voices her opinion and about things and it doesn’t go so well for her.
Also, her parents are turning the castle into a tourist attraction and has hired an older man to do the landscaping and he has a young girl Callie’s age and at first they don’t get off to a good start but she learns that she likes twitching too and they slowly get to where they become friends.
Callie learns a lot about birds and she also finds a journal from the previous owner of the castle and in it she learns about a part of her childhood that was pretty tough and also a lot about birding from her. Callie also learns a lot about herself and how she shouldn’t have to be a certain way to fit in, sometimes she just needs to find the right flock. I really liked Callie and how she took a stand with the birding club and created her own club that allowed counting females.
I really enjoyed this one and would highly recommend it to young readers.