THE LAKE EFFECT: Still Time for a Beach Book

Lynn: Those of us who live on the shores of the Great Lakes are very familiar with the term “lake effect.” It makes temperatures milder while also dumping great amounts of snow on the shoreline in winter. Erin McCahan’s book, Lake Effect (2017) explores another meaning of the term: the calming, reflective, introspective feeling that comes with looking out at an ever-changing body of water.

Before this summer, Briggs Henry didn’t feel the need to sit on the beach. The president of his senior class with a full-ride scholarship to the University of Michigan, charming, hard-working, ambitious Briggs has his future planned. Working at Bluestone Court, a senior residence, for a mandatory service project has enabled Briggs to perfect a full range of “Old People Smiles” and landed him a summer job as an assistant to 84-year-old Mrs. Bozic, who lives in a big Victorian house in South Haven on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a peach of a gig, and Briggs is fully confident he can handle it. What he doesn’t anticipate is Mrs. Bozic’s love of attending funerals, a gorgeous girl next door who vanishes mysteriously for days, a humiliating public faux pas, volleyball games with the locals, or falling in love.

Clever, charming, and sweet, this ode to Lake Michigan, small beach towns, grandmothers, and relationships is the perfect coming-of-age book for the end of the summer. Packed with great characters, snarky dialogue, and buckets of heart, Briggs is a character to root for. Kick back and let the lake effect work its magic.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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