Lexie by Audrey Couloumbis has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Ten-year-old Lexie used to spend vacations at the shore with her parents. Now it's summer again, a year after their divorce, and Dad takes her back to their beach house for a week. As they're arriving, he drops a bomb: He's invited his girlfriend, Vicky, and her two sons to spend the week with them.
Before Lexie has had time to process the news, lively Vicky arrives with 14-year-old Ben and 3-year-old Harris. Ben is moody, and Harris, who likes being called Mack and making truck sounds, gets his sticky, fuzzy fingers all over everything. Lexie feels betrayed and disappointed. She can't call home because she doesn't want Mom to know Vicky is there.
Throughout the week, the vacationers experience unpleasant, often painful relationship dynamics. Dad gets frustrated with the way Vicky disciplines Harris. Ben is embarrassed by his mother's flirtation with Lexie's dad. Lexie is angry with her father's secrets, her inability to spend time with him and with strangers touching and breaking her things. She hates being relegated to a tiny bedroom and wonders if there will be room for her anywhere anymore.
In spite of the awkwardness, Lexie gets to know Ben and Harris better. Ben, who knows nothing about the beach, sees a relatively harmless sand shark in a tide pool and becomes concerned. He insists they get it back into the ocean before it bites someone. Rather than telling him not to worry, Lexie spends the day helping him carve out canals in the sand so the shark can return to the ocean. Dad, Vicky and Harris come to help. When Ben later runs away, Lexie talks to him and encourages him to come back.
Another day, Dad makes Lexie take Harris beach combing. In spite of herself, she starts to find the boy charming. She's shocked when Harris announces that they're all getting married; she confronts her dad about not telling her the truth and makes him call Mom and tell her so she [Lexie] won't have to carry around such a gigantic secret.
Dad calls Mom and tells her about his plans with Vicky. When she talks to Lexie, Mom seems fine with the news. More than anything, she's concerned about how Lexie feels. Lexie is relieved by Mom's reaction, and she's surprised to realize that she's really OK with things. She goes back to the beach to dig for shells with Harris.
Other Belief Systems
When the group discusses sleeping arrangements, Vicky says she'll be sleeping with Harris to make him feel comfortable in a strange place.
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Couloumbis is a Newbery Honor-winning author.
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Readability Age Range
8 to 12
Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House Inc.
2011 Bulletin Blue Ribbon (Center for Children's Books)