Laurel Snyder's latest middle grade novel is a pitch-perfect story of a girl dealing with loss, navigating friendship, and (re)learning to speak up for what she believes in. While it's not magical realism, suggestions of magic sparkle at the edges of the story--this theme parallels Leah's own coming of age in a world where she wants to believe in the fantastic but isn't so sure it still exists for her.— Janet
When you're a kid it's so easy to feel isolated and alone. Especially when your family has suffered a loss like Leah's. Laurel Snyder has written a deeply beautiful book in My Jasper June that addresses tough topics in genuine and accessible ways. After an isolating school year, Leah finds herself aimlessly drifting through a boring summer in her Atlanta neighborhood. That is, until she meets Jasper. Their friendship changes Leah's life in big ways. Not only does Leah find the courage to address the elephant in the room with her parents, but she learns to stand up for what is right. This is the type of book that could unlock a discussion on some difficult subjects with your young reader. Sometimes you just need an opening.— Rachel Watkins
This poignant middle grade novel is set during summer in Atlanta, and it strikes the right balance between the fantastic and heavy reality. It captures the difficulties of being thirteen, when you can sense hard truths, but also are still holding on to that shimmering bit of miraculous magic. The story delves into tough subjects with tenderness. It also shows you how to move forward with the healing power of friendship, resilience, and unwaveringly being there for others.— Julie Jarema
Snyder's summery offering is another middle grade winner. In My Jasper June, two girls with problems much bigger than them find that the bonds of friendship empower them and enrich their lives. Snyder writes a unique kind of fiction that straddles the line between realism and fantasy, and this book is sure to please both kinds of readers.— Hannah DeCamp
“This is the kind of middle-grade book we need more of! The story is a realistic portrayal of the lives of two teenage girls, one grieving the death of her brother and the other homeless due to alcohol and physical abuse in her family, who meet by chance and become friends. It is impossible to determine which girl benefits more from the relationship. It is heartrending but also hopeful.”
— Diane Howell Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA
“This book is a treasure—a touching story of friendship, loss, and finding beauty in the everyday, with characters who stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. I absolutely loved it.”—R. J. Palacio, New York Times bestselling author of Wonder
Laurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island, returns with another unforgettable story of the moments in which we find out who we are, and the life-altering friendships that show us what we can be.
The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels. . . lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.
Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost.
Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships, somewhere only they can find.
But as the days of this magical June start to draw to a close, and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.
Laurel Snyder is the author of picture books and novels for children, including National Book Award nominee Orphan Island and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Charlie & Mouse. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at www.laurelsnyder.com.
“This book is a treasure—a touching story of friendship, loss, and finding beauty in the every day, with characters who stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. I absolutely loved it.” — R. J. Palacio, New York Times-bestselling author of Wonder
“Honest and beautiful, My Jasper June shows us what real friendship makes possible in the face of the impossible.” — Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me
“Unflinchingly true and hopeful at once, My Jasper June gives us a friendship so intense and magical, we feel lucky to be there for every gut-wrenching minute of it. Snyder is a truly wonderful writer.” — Emily Jenkins, New York Times bestselling author of Brave Red, Smart Frog
“[A] tender, atmospheric and memorable novel that explore the intimate, restorative power and beauty of friendship.” — New York Times Book Review
“Snyder tackles heavy topics (death and grief, abuse and homelessness) straightforwardly in this coming-of-age story. A candid story about two teens who find solace and strength in each other.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A beautiful story about the healing powers of friendship in the face of tragedy and hardship, this is a must-buy for juvenile fiction collections.” — School Library Journal (starred review)