by Audrey Couloumbis
Illustrated by Julia Denos
Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date - May 2011
What do you think of when someone says "summer vacation"? For ten-year-old Lexie it has always meant a trip to her family's beach house. This year the vacation will be very different since her parents' divorce. Lexie hopes that a week alone with her father will give them time to catch up. This plan is quickly altered when her dad's new girlfriend Vicky (and her two sons!) arrive at the house. Lexie must give up her room for the boys, sit next to Harris (3 years old) at dinner (he has disgusting grubby hands and constantly makes motor noises), and try not to do anything silly in front of 14 year old Ben. Everything feels weird for Lexie. She doesn't know all of the right things to say and do with Vicky and her sons. Her feelings are all mixed up.
Lexie is surprised to learn that the boys can't swim and that they have never explored a beach. On their first beach walk Lexie and Ben discover a sand shark stranded in a tidal pool. They work together for the rest of the day to rescue the fish. I think this scene is one of the most important because Ben and Lexie begin to learn more about one another through their shared effort to save the shark. There is still one more BIG SURPRISE for Lexie to discover in this new story by Newbery Honor winning author Audrey Couloumbis.