I must be ready to take a break from Realistic Fiction for a while. I found this book a little hard to get through. Ten-year-old Mo Wren lives on a dead end street where she knows everyone and everyone knows her and her family. At the beginning of the book, she is looking forward to the arrival of her best friend, Mercedes, who comes to Fox street to live with her Grandmother every summer. Mo wants it to be like always, but things are changing on Fox Street. Mercedes has a new step father who can afford to buy her popular-girl clothes. Mercedes's grandmother is getting to old to keep her house up, and Mo's father is hoping for an opportunity to quit his blue collar job and buy a diner. Mo resists every change and nothing really happy happens to her all summer. Things just get gloomier and gloomier, and she gets crankier and crankier. That is why I had a hard time reading the book. I have said it before. Writers need to give the readers emotional rest stops every once in a while. What this book really needed was some comic relief. There was opportunity. Springstubb suggested a little romance between Mo and one of the neighbor boys, but every time then met, Mo was just rude to him. Reading the book was a little like a boil—the misery of the story just got bigger and more painful until when it finally popped at the end, I was so glad to have it over, it almost seemed like a happy ending. It wasn't really a happy ending. It was just a cessation of misery.
That said, the writing wasn't bad. The voicing of Mo as a ten-year-old was convincing, and the different characters in the little community were interesting and endearing. The good qualities are not enough to tempt me to read the sequel, not unless there is some week that I am in the mood to be melancholy for a few days. (218 p)