The Battle of Darcy Lane by Tara Altebrando (received finished copy from publisher at BEA14)
Best friends Julia and Taylor are bored. They are bored of spending their summer days floating in the pool, even if it cools them off. They are bored of waiting for the cicadas to emerge, even though Julia has practically convinced herself that that isn’t actually going to happen. And they are even bored of playing their most favorite game, millionaire.
What both girls needs is a little excitement in their lives.
And excitement arrives with the moving truck that is parked outside of the house across the street. That moving truck brings more than furniture, it brings Alyssa. And with Alyssa comes the game Russia.
But Alyssa isn’t the kind of friend that Julia wants. For one thing, Alyssa is mean. She seems to take pleasure in making Julia miserable. Secondly, she thinks way too highly of herself. That’s why Julia had to accept her challenge of going up against her in a Russia match. And worst of all, she seems to have stolen BFF Taylor.
Julia’s boring summer is quickly turning into the summer she will never forget. Not only has she found new friends, and a new game to play, but Julia also finds herself. But is that enough to stand up to Alyssa? Is it enough to win the game?
Author Tara Altebrando’s The Battle of Darcy Lane is a middle-grade debut that is sure to stun and captivate readers of all ages.
There are several factors that make this book such a great read. The first of those factors being the writing. I said it once, and I’ll say it again: Altebrando truly has a way with words. Her writing is strong, engaging, and above all things it’s descriptive. So much so that readers will easily be transported into the heart of the story.
Another one of those factors are the characters. Julia, Taylor, and even Alyssa are true representatives of twelve-year-old girls. Julia is honest and innocent. She’s ready to be independent, but still slightly scared to leave the cover of her sheltered life. Taylor is curious, always wondering what it would mean to have a new, more popular friend. And then there’s Alyssa who will always be mean to others to make herself feel better about herself. She truly represents the old mantra kids can be cruel.
Julia, The Battle of Darcy Lane’s leading lady, is a one of a kind character. She has real spunk. She’s the kind of character that young readers will want to be friends with, will overwhelmingly cheer for, and will easily relate to. For us older readers, Julia is the kind of character that will remind us what it was like to be twelve. She will remind us about a time in our lives where we are giving up our beloved toys for a training bra.
And still, another factor that makes this book a five star read is the game Russia. It adds a layer of depth and tension to the plot of The Battle of Darcy Lane. Not only does it give main character Julia a chance to vindicate herself, but it also gives her the confidence she needs – not only to win, but to survive the tween years.
The Battle of Darcy Lane is a five star book for me. And I think, if you dear readers, pick this book up, it will be for you too. This book captures all the good, the bad, and the in between moments of a very specific period in life. And it’s done with honesty and true emotions.