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Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt

When Meryl Lee Kowalski’s best friend dies, life seems to stop. Meryl Lee can no longer go outside, because everything reminds her of Holling and remembering makes her feel ‘Blank.’ To help her make a new start, Meryl Lee’s parents send her to St. Elene’s Preparatory School for Girls. But she can’t seem to fit in. In fact she seems to make everyone angry while she just feels miserable. At the same time, Matt Coffin is on the run. He steals from the crime boss who rules his life, and now he lives in constant fear of being caught. Even worse, Matt doesn’t dare settle down or get close to people because they might be hurt. As both Matt and Meryl Lee struggle to find their place in the world, they find each other and many friends along the way.

Once again Gary Schmidt has created a beautiful story about friendship and growing up. His characters are marvelous, his wordsmithing is stunning, and his storytelling is excellent. Just Like That was a joy to read. It is perfect for anyone trying to find their place--both old and young. Middle schoolers will relate to Meryl Lee and Matt, but every reader will find a character to connect with.

Recommended ages--11 and up


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