A story about a wounded girl and the boy who won't give up on her.
Seventh grader Louise Terrace has a secret admirer. He sends her notes when she needs cheering up, and draws chalk hearts on the sidewalk outside her apartment. It should be the perfect romance... but somehow they never meet up.
It's the same with gymnastics. Louise is a natural champion. She can do cartwheels all day long and even backflips on the balance beam. She should be captain of the school team... but somehow it doesn't work out.
There's something holding Louise back, a family secret from the past so heartbreaking that it's got her frozen inside. And it's going to take a miraculous spring to thaw her out again.
Reviews and Awards
Kansas State Reading Circle
⋆ “An outstanding tale of love, loss and the true power of friendship.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
⋆ “There’s a dark mystery propelling this extremely well-done novel… Executed with wit and delicacy, Stone’s novel is made more poignant by her admission that she experienced a tragedy similar to Louise’s and reacted by blocking it out. ‘In fact,’ she writes in her author’s note, ‘the healing process can only truly begin when we are willing to remember.’” - Publishers Weekly, starred review
⋆ “At 4’7”, seventh-grader Louise Terrace looks more like a fourth-grader, and she prefers to be called ‘Thumbelina.’ She lives with her hilariously dorky, yet loving, grandparents, who give her socks made out of recycled milk cartons. Louise’s life begins to change one day when a pizza is delivered, as well as a mysterious note—‘I am your biggest fan.’ With help from best-friend Reni and Reni’s brother, Henderson, Louise allows herself to get swept up in the mystery of her secret admirer. In spite of the funny details and Louise’s self-deprecating humor, the novel has a tone of pervasive sadness and emptiness, stemming from something terrible that happened to Louise’s mother. Louise has blocked out her former family life on Cinnamon Street, remembering ‘not one thing.’ Instead, she’s retreated inward, building an impenetrable, protective fortress around herself. Lovely, nerdy Henderson gradually pulls Louise closer and closer to the heartbreaking truth about her family, though, and how he does it is achingly sweet. Readers will figure out Louise’s secret admirer early on—and likely guess what happened to her mother—but that’s part of the beauty of Stone’s deeply affecting novel about Louise’s personal journey. Readers will feel for her and cheer for her in equal measure.” - Booklist, starred review
⋆ “A vivid, tender tale of loss, grief, and very first romance that’s subtly woven but still easily accessible…. The book is particularly original in the deft way the crush story partners with the plot of Louise’s processing of her loss, but it’s also a wonderful human tale in general with superlative characterization and observations of human dynamics. Most winning of all, however, is the romance itself, which bursts out in a joyful, honey-sweet dénouement that’s destined to be one of the great romantic moments in preteen fiction. Younger kids not ready for or interested in the steamy teen fantasy romances currently abounding will be thrilled to find a moving and delightful treatment of love among the lockers.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
“Stone’s control of her narrative is expert; the way she brings the various elements together is unexpected and heart-wrenching. Occasional humor… lightens things up, but the story’s core is its earnestness and heart. Well-conceived supporting characters…give Louise the strength she needs to find her way back to herself.” - Horn Book
“Louise and the quirky cast of characters in this novel will win your heart…. This is a lovely, leisurely read for a long afternoon.” - Library Media Connection
Middle Grade Novel
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 7 1/2"
Page Count: 240
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes