In Your Shoes
In Your Shoes

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Annotation: Miles is an anxious boy who loves his family's bowling center, even though he feels his life is at risk whenever he goes there. Amy is the new girl who wishes she didn't have to live above her uncle's funeral home. Then, they meet. ...
Catalog Number: #167608
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 323 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-524-71373-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2253-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-524-71373-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2253-7
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
As she did in Lily and Dunkin (2016), Gephart tells the story of two kids in alternating chapters. Amy's mother has died, so she and her father move to Pennsylvania, more specifically into her uncle's funeral home, where her dad will work once he finishes his classes in funeral arts. Miles, meanwhile, spends most of his time at the family's bowling alley, brushing up his game and enjoying the company of his grandfather, Billy ough Miles misses his recently deceased grandmother, Bubbie Louise. The main story line o 12-year-olds trying to reshape their lives after loss rks well enough, and Amy and Miles are endearing characters, as are their friends, Randall and his weight-lifting, blue-haired crush, Tate. Unfortunately, Gephart takes up space with a fairy tale Amy is writing and on the musings of an omniscient narrator, pages that perhaps could have been better spent shaping the story. Several crises punctuate the action and move it along, but it's the burgeoning relationship between two ordinary kids who need (and find) both help and hope that wins the day.
Horn Book
Following the death of her mom, Amy moves in with her uncle at a creepy funeral home. Across town, anxious Miles worries about everything--but mostly his aging grandfather and the fate of his family's bowling alley. A surprising friendship ensues, offering each middle schooler an unexpected path toward healing. A unique and lovely examination of the power of friendship to pull us from the depths of grief.
Kirkus Reviews
Once upon a bowling shoe….Miles Spagoski's favorite place is his family's bowling alley. A worrier who is awkward with girls, Miles wishes life were more like bowling, where there is "always a chance for a do-over." Maybe if he wears his lucky bowling shoes someone will think he's interesting enough to go to the upcoming dance with. Meanwhile, Amy Silverman is lonely and unhappy about moving to her uncle's funeral home; her bedroom smells moldy, and the environment triggers memories of her mom's funeral. A writer, Amy projects her life and dreams onto her characters in hopes of rewriting her story with a happy ending. The two kids meet when one of Miles' lucky bowling shoes lands on Amy's head. Miles has no idea how lucky his shoe is, because things don't always turn out the way we expect. Miles' and Amy's perspectives alternate in the intrusive third-person narration, which includes earnest and gently humorous insights into themes of friendship, loss, and perseverance set in a contrasting typeface. Paratext includes glossaries of bowling and writing terms. Well-rounded supporting characters include Miles' best friend, Randall, a stylish boy with severe asthma, and their friend Tate, a blue-haired girl who weight lifts competitively. Miles is Jewish, and Amy's leg-length discrepancy requires her to wear a heel lift. Excepting a minor character with a Spanish surname, assume the white default.A sweet story about a friendship with a most inauspicious start. (Fiction. 9-13)
Publishers Weekly
This clever story about friendship, loss, and bowling shoes by Gephart (Lily and Dunkin) traces how two miserable middle schoolers strike up an unexpected friendship. Still grieving over her mother-s recent death, Amy Silverman is not happy about moving from Chicago to Buckington (-Borington-), Pa., to live with her uncle above his funeral home. Meanwhile, Miles Spagoski, whose family owns Buckington Bowl, the local bowling alley, is also feeling sorrow, as well as anxiety. He misses his grandmother, who died a year ago, and is worried about his ailing grandfather. The tweens meet under unfortunate circumstances on Amy-s first day of school: before Amy even enters the building, Miles-s lucky bowling shoe gets tossed in the air and clonks her on the head. Though tossed-shoe victim and crackerjack bowler are destined to become close, the build to this inevitability is entertaining, as Miles awkwardly attempts to make amends, and Amy, when she-s feeling blue, composes an ongoing story about a peasant girl who also gets hit in the head. Told from the alternating perspectives of the endearing protagonists, the novel humorously verifies that loss can lead to surprising beginnings. Ages 9-12. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (Oct.)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (9/1/18)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 50,084
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 197969 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:4.0 / quiz:Q75809
Lexile: 700L

Miles

 

Miles Spagoski jogged the four blocks to his family's bowling center, shivering and imagining ways he might die--a frozen tree limb could crack off and land on his head, a distracted driver fiddling with a car's heating controls could swerve onto the sidewalk and plow him flat, or, if he was outside long enough, plain old hypothermia could be the end of his short, sad story.

 

But the moment Miles entered Buckington Bowl, his worries melted away like snowflakes on a warm palm. Miles relaxed, as much as someone like him could relax, onto a stool behind the front counter and kicked off his worn sneakers.

 

He loved his family's bowling center first thing in the morning, before his dad put the oldies rock station on to play through the crackly speaker system, before pins crashed on lanes 1 through 48, before video games near the snack counter beeped and blinked and beckoned. Before--

 

"Hey, Spagoski!" Randall Fleming yelled through the thick glass doors, startling Miles. Backpack slung over one shoulder, face pressed against the glass where the painted words read "No gum allowed in this building," Randall made smudges with his mouth and pounded the door with a gloved fist. "Open up. My snot's freezing."

 

Miles unlocked the automatic doors for his best friend to slip through. He'd tried to make Randall call him by his first name, but there were five other Mileses in their grade, so Randall insisted on "Spagoski" for specificity. He was stubborn like that.

 

"Why didn't you open up sooner?" Randall blinked, blinked, blinked. "My eyeballs were turning into ice cubes out there."

 

"It's not that cold." Miles reached behind the counter and grabbed Windex and a rag. "Why'd you have to slobber all over the door? You know I have to clean that."

 

Randall shrugged. Miles went outside in his socks to quickly wipe the smudges off the glass, then darted back in, shivering again. "It's fr-fr-freezing! Feels like the temperature dropped twenty degrees since I got here."

 

"Told you," Randall said, stamping his brand-new sneakers, even though there wasn't any snow on the ground. "They should cancel school today and give us one more day of winter vacation."

 

Miles imagined spending the whole day bowling. He'd take his first break at lunch when his dad started grilling in the bowling center's kitchen. And when Miles's arm got sore from rolling so many strikes, he'd hang out with the regulars, like Stick, who'd teach him the finer points of playing pool so Miles could hustle kids at the pool table as well as on the lanes, and Tyler, the mechanic, who would take him back behind the lanes and let him help fix things when they broke down, which was often. It would be a perfect day. "They should cancel school for the rest of winter," Miles said. "We could bowl like eight games a day every day. Imagine how high our averages would get."

 

"They should cancel that dumb school dance." Randall kicked at nothing. "Did you see the way Marcus Lopez asked Lacey Smith to the dance before break? That idiot hid a dozen roses in her locker and then had Mr. Cedeno ask her for him over the morning announcements."

 

"Yeah, that was crazy," Miles said. "What if she said no?"

 

"Right. But of course she said yes. Way to raise the bar for the rest of us, Marcus."

 

Both boys laughed, but Miles wasn't laughing on the inside. He knew the dumb dance was another thing he'd worry about. Would he find someone to ask? How would he ask her in a big way without embarrassing himself? Would she say yes? He didn't have the popularity power of Marcus Lopez. And he didn't even like dancing. You could get bumped into, stepped on, rejected, made fun of. Too much unpredictability. Miles liked bowling, where things made sense. You rolled a heavy ball down a wooden lane in an attempt to knock over ten pins. Simple. Fun. Predictable. Nothing terrible ever happened in bowling. Even the dreaded gutter ball wasn't the end of the world. There was always the next roll or the next game. Always a chance for a do-over.

 

If only life were more like bowling.

 

Miles ducked behind the counter, put the Windex away, and switched on lane 48. He handed Randall a pair of size 11 bowling shoes, marveling at how much bigger Randall's feet were than his own. Miles grabbed the handle of his black wheeled bowling bag. "You're lucky you can ask Tate," Miles said. "I can't think of one girl at Buckington Middle who'd want to go with me."

 

"Aw. Come on." Randall flung his arm around Miles's shoulders and squeezed. "There's got to be one girl who's desperate enough to go with you, Spagoski. You know, someone with really bad vision who wouldn't realize how ugly you are."

 

Miles wriggled out of Randall's grip. He decided to think about bowling, not girls, not the dumb dance and definitely not Randall's unfunny comment. He thought if he did everything right this morning, maybe he'd bowl his first perfect game.

 

Three hundred beautiful points. Twelve gorgeous strikes in a row.

 

His older sister, Mercedes, once told him some nine-year-old girl in Florida bowled a perfect game in league play. Miles figured if a nine-year-old could do it, he should be able to do it, too. He was three years older than that girl and probably had a lot more bowling experience, since his grandfather owned Buckington Bowl and his parents worked there.

 

But in all his years of playing, Miles had never bowled a perfect game.

 

If you believe in yourself and work hard enough, you can do anything, Miles's grandmother, Bubbie Louise, used to say. Except bowl a 301. Even Superman can't do that, bubeleh . . . and he's got those cute tights and all.

 

Miles still missed Bubbie Louise, even though she died a year ago, shortly after his eleventh birthday. Miles knew he should be done missing her by now, but he couldn't help how he felt.

 

"I'm going to kick your bowling butt, Spagoski," Randall said as they walked toward lane 48.

 

Miles shook his head. "Yeah, well, Grandpop Billy gave me a new bowling ball for Chanukah, so I'm going to kick your butt today, Rand." Miles stretched his leg behind Randall to literally kick him in the butt, but since Randall was so much taller, Miles managed only a weak tap on the back of Randall's left thigh.

 

Miles made a mental note to himself: Grow.



Excerpted from In Your Shoes by Donna Gephart
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

"A unique and compelling novel from a master storyteller."—School Library Journal, starred review 

The critically acclaimed author of Lily and Dunkin delivers another heartfelt story that will remind readers you never know who needs a friend the most.

Miles is an anxious boy who loves his family's bowling center even if though he could be killed by a bolt of lightning or a wild animal that escaped from the Philadelphia Zoo on the way there. 

Amy is the new girl at school who wishes she didn't have to live above her uncle's funeral home and tries to write her way to her own happily-ever-after. 

Then Miles and Amy meet in the most unexpected way . . . and that's when it all begins. . . .


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