IN YOUR SHOES, by Donna Gephart, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Oct. 9, 2018, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 9-12)
Being a tween is hard enough, but when you add in all the outside pressures, it can be downright suffocating. Donna Gephart explores how friendship adds balance in her latest novel for middle-graders, In Your Shoes.
Miles is an anxious boy who loves his family’s bowling center even if though he could be killed by a bolt of lightning or a wild animal that escaped from the Philadelphia Zoo on the way there.
Amy is the new girl at school who wishes she didn’t have to live above her uncle’s funeral home and tries to write her way to her own happily-ever-after.
Then Miles and Amy meet in the most unexpected way . . . and that’s when it all begins. . . . —Synopsis provided by Delactorte Books for Young Readers.
The “shoes” element in In Your Shoes is both physical and metaphorical. While Miles thinks his bowling shoes give him a quirky edge, Amy feels her heel lift brings unwanted attention. It’s a shoe hurtling through the air that brings the two together, and as the book progresses, they gain an overall better understanding of life itself by putting themselves in each other’s shoes.
In Your Shoes is told in alternating chapters with occasional overlap, and this sort of narrative works well. It allows readers to get to know both Miles and Amy better. The book’s setting (a mix of a bowling alley, a funeral home and school) is delightfully eccentric.
Donna Gephart’s writing is beautifully smooth and inviting. She captures the essence of tweendom without playing to stereotypes. Donna’s characters are likeable — the type of people you’d want your own kids to be friends with.
In Your Shoes would be a lovely addition to anyone’s bookshelf.