Sam makes a splash

Nicole Melleby

Book - 2023

"Eleven-year-old Sam, who lives with her siblings and mothers in a house on Sunrise Lagoon, tries to come up with a plan to save the family's charter boat business before the summer is over"--

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jFICTION/Melleby Nicole
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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jFICTION/Melleby Nicole Due Jul 27, 2024
Domestic fiction
Lesbian fiction
New York : Algonquin Young Readers [2023]
Main Author
Nicole Melleby (author)
First edition
Physical Description
210 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 9-12.
Grades 4-6.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

In this new series, 11-year-old Sam(antha) seeks reassurance of her place in the sprawling Ali-O'Connor household, where Mom runs a boat charter and repair business and Mama teaches school. Sam wants nothing more than to take over Mom's business when the time comes, but whispered comments convince her that Mom might have to sell. Compounding her worries is Sam's fear of water; she is the only sibling who cannot swim, a distinct disadvantage if you live on a Jersey Shore lagoon. As in similar family series (e.g., Jeanne Birdsall's Penderwicks) 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. Book 2, Marina in the Middle, publishes simultaneously.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this joyful series opener set on an idyllic New Jersey lagoon, 11-year-old Samantha Ali-O'Connor vows to save her Mom's struggling boat charter and repair business as a way to "solidify her place" in her bustling adoptive family. Alongside 11-year-old Harbor, nine-year-old Marina (who's also adopted), seven-year-old twins Cordelia and Lir, Mom, and schoolteacher Mama, Sam is both the most recent addition to the Ali-O'Connor household and the only member who can't swim, which, despite her moms' assurances, distresses her. Accidentally overhearing her parents discussing their strained finances, Sam realizes that her dream of taking over the family company is in jeopardy, and she launches a secret campaign to attract business before summer's end. But Sam quickly discovers that she needs help, and she turns to four-months-older Harbor, with whom she shares an intense rivalry, as well as the Badger brothers, who spend summers across the lagoon. Moments of madcap humor and familial warmth characterize this emotionally generous summer tale from Melleby (Camp QUILTBAG), which showcases the author's command of fully realized characterization and distinct relationship dynamics. Most characters read as white; the twins share Mama's Syrian genes. Publishing simultaneously: Marina in the Middle (The House on Sunrise Lagoon #2). Ages 8--12. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (May)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

With business and family, it's sink or swim. Former foster child Samantha, an 11-year-old adoptee, came to live with the Ali-O'Connors three years ago. She's had to adjust to being one of the oldest siblings while also being the newest out of five. Her sister Harbor is only four months older, and they end up competing for everything, like a blanket on the couch, time alone in the room they share with middle sibling Marina (who is also adopted), and their mothers' attention. Schoolteacher Mama is the main caregiver, offering special smiles to the kids. Mom runs a boat charter and repair business out of their backyard, which borders Sunrise Lagoon along their lively, water-centered New Jersey neighborhood. Sam and Harbor both intend to inherit their Mom's boat business someday, although Sam is still learning how to swim. Then one night Sam overhears her mothers discussing money troubles and the possibility of Mom's needing to sell the business. Sam is determined not to let that happen and decides she must come up with a plan before the end of summer. 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. Sam is a determined, sometimes stubborn protagonist with understandable insecurities. Many characters read White; Mama and her biological twins, Cordelia and Lir, have Syrian ancestry. An enjoyable and heartwarming read. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.