Lollipops & Loss: Two Kids by Richard Levine Tackles Difficult Theme with Sweet Moments
Melinda T. Falgoust
When you're a pre-teen, you search for your place in the world - just how to fit "fit in". But, like the garishly large lollipop on her shirt, twelve-year old D.C. Blau soon realizes that the world is a rainbow, made up of all different types and flavors, and it sometimes takes that delicious mix of "different" to create something wonderfully sweet - like the friendship she forms with Rob Cameron, a shy boy she meets at a party.
Two Kids is a middle-grade coming of age novel that follows the budding friendship of D.C. and Rob as they first meet at an early summer party and help each other through some extraordinarily trying life moments. The book puts a modern spin on some challenging themes that are visited in such great children's classics like Bridge to Terabithia and Charlotte's Web. All three of the aforementioned titles accentuate the importance of friendship and the angst of loss. Likewise, Levine does a respectable job with emphasizing the value of perseverance.
There are some reader's who might stumble upon the vacillating first-person narratives - bouncing between the two main characters' points-of-view makes for a bit of stilted reading. But, as D.C. and Rob wend their way through Levine's vivid descriptions and detailed settings, it becomes a little easier to settle in to the story. Also, sprinkled amidst the quirkily-named ball players, kooky carnivals, and thrilling plane rides there are a few current phrases and text-speak abbreviations that might serve only to date the novel when something else could have easily been substituted.
All in all, Levine serves up middle-graders with a series of slice-of-life moments that add up to a plateful of positive - a message that reminds us how important good friends can be.
About the Author
Richard grew up in Jericho, Long Island, and practiced Diagnostic Radiology for many years before retiring. He and his wife have two daughters.
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* The author was provided with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.