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3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  2,173 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews
Returning to the beach cottage—a cottage named Scallop—where she has always celebrated her birthday is a special occasion for Alice Rice.

Who will see the first dolphin this time? The first pelican? What will have changed? Stayed the same? And will this be the year she finally finds a junonia shell?

Alice's friends are all returning, too. And she's certain her parents have t
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Greenwillow Books
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Newbery 2012
18th out of 142 books — 721 voters
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Middle Grade Novels of 2011
37th out of 146 books — 156 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Marjorie Ingall
Apr 19, 2011 Marjorie Ingall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: girls-9-12
I loved this. Another Goodreads reviewer compared it to Mrs. Dalloway, and God help me, she's right. Nothing HAPPENS -- the book is all about the emotions and tiny changes in our female protagonist's head -- but it's so real and so touching and so momentous despite being writ so small. And I love the art. I do worry that this very short novel (I would say novella but after reading that Eudora Welty hated the word novella, I try not to say novella b/c what if I accidentally insult some novelist w ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it
Other readers seemed to have the same reactions to this that I did. The story is slow, and more or less an internal story about a nice kid who is growing up. Nothing incredibly dramatic happens. At least, not in terms of your average kids' novel. Nobody is forced to live in a broom closet by their stingy, jerky relatives. Nobody time travels. Nobody is riding cross country via dragon. The dramatic things that happen are pretty simple: a summer vacation doesn't turn out as a young girl hopes it w ...more
Clare Cannon
Aug 28, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it did not like it
Shelves: 08-12yrs
To be honest this book was bland and insipid and uninspiring, right up to the last page. 9 year old Alice goes with her parents on a holiday that she hopes will be perfect, because while she is there she will celebrate her 10th birthday. But right from the start there is a fatalistic shadow over the whole story which sends a message that things will never be as good as you want them to be, and that is something you just have to accept about life… it’s the best you can do.

There is a very small am
OK to Good choice for Mock Newbery.
Absolutely beautiful insight into the emotional experiences of children. Once again, Henkes presents adults and children in a realistic narrative of their lives, this time centered around the birthday of Alice, who is turning 10. There is so much honesty and insight in this story about the natural self-centeredness of children, about development and developing self awareness, about the impact of parenting, and of how adults relate to children depending on rela
Mar 30, 2011 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, arc
After reading this book, I was struck by its similarity in tone with Mrs. Dalloway. The subject matter is different, but Alice's introspection makes this book worth reading. Although it seems like not a lot is happening, the book is all about Alice and how she changes internally, day by day. Her thoughts about jealousy, change, and family are similar to ones that ran through my head when I was younger, and sometimes now.

A previous reviewer noted that the market for this book may be slim, and un
Jul 09, 2011 Anina rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-age
Perfectly written from the point of view of a child. Perfectly summery, so you should read it now! Entirely internal and character driven, so not for every child.
Feb 20, 2011 Eliza rated it it was amazing
Well written, vivid imagery, quiet and entirely character driven. So sensitive. A beautiful read for an introverted 8-10 year old.
Jennifer Longo
Sep 24, 2011 Jennifer Longo rated it it was amazing
I was stunned to read the reviews speaking to Alice's supposed 'selfish' desires and some kind of 'fatalistic' shadow hanging over the story - I'm sorry, but are those readers on glue? This book is one of the most amazing, patient, beautifully constructed narratives I've read in a long time. Kevin Henkes is right up there with Blume, Cleary, Patterson - he is a master of both picture books and novels. Every moment of Alice's time at the beach with her parents and the confusing relationship with ...more
Jun 10, 2011 Molly rated it it was ok
Shelves: juv
Alice is an only child, in fact she is the child of two parents who are also only children. I think this is important to note, because this story of her week long vacation in Florida with her parents could serve as a cautionary tale regarding only children. I found Alice to be self-centered, coddled by her parents, and not very understanding towards younger or older people. She isn't a mean character, she's just overly sensitive and rigid, and hasn't had to deal with disappointment or accommodat ...more
Apr 19, 2016 Abi rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

This book is amazing! It has some really deep meanings behind the words, and it was incredible how the author perfectly conveyed my feelings on certain topics.

There were a couple things I didn't like, however:

1. There is a (very minor character) teenage girl in the book and she is portrayed as a jerk and doesn't care about anything. Teenagers aren't all like that!

2. Alice changes her image of God to a female and names her Junonia.

But, overall this is a great book that centers a lot on
Sep 03, 2012 Joy rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2012-reads
What a lovely little book. Alice goes to Florida for an annual winter holiday with her parents. She is especially anxious about this one because it's when she will celebrate her tenth birthday. Everything is usually the same at the beach- the same cottage, the same friends, the same activities and the same birthday celebration of hot dogs, key lime pie and chocolate cake. Of course, from the start things feel different this time. And then some favorite friends aren't able to come and new friends ...more
Mary Ann
Jun 09, 2011 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Turning ten is a big deal, something that adults often forget. In this quiet novel, Kevin Henkes explores the thoughts and feelings of Alice Rice, an observant young girl with a “pale, watchful face” who is on the cusp of adolescence. Alice and her family spend a week every February renting the same beach cottage on Sanibel Island, Florida, celebrating her birthday with the people who return to this vacation spot each year during the same week. Alice takes great comfort from her family’s traditi ...more
Jun 30, 2011 Marika rated it really liked it
Every year Alice and family go to Florida for vacation, living in a cottage and spending time with other families who vacation at the same spot every year. This year it is Alice's tenth birthday-a very important number- and she has high hopes for the week until she learns that her usual playmates can't come and new poeple are arriving. Mallory, a younger girl, arrives with Alice's favorite adult, Kate. Mallory is shy, angry, and sad in turns and Kate's attention is usurped by her needs. Though A ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fic, nook
As I was reading this I would go back and forth between loving the story and then thinking "This is a little strange/boring and what student would I ever recommend this to?"

The descriptive language is absolutely beautiful. I could see the waves and feel the sand and smell the air and taste the chocolate icing on her birthday cake. Teachers will love to use passages from this book just for the descriptions.

Alice is a believable and relatable character. She gets excited and disappointed and as rea
Mar 27, 2012 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Kevin Henkes, beloved picture book author, has also written longer works of fiction for children. I was delighted to read Junonia, a novel published this year, 2011. The main character, Alice, celebrates her tenth birthday during the family’s annual week at the beach. This week and this birthday, however, are like none of the previous ones. Beloved beach friends and neighbors do not show up. Mom’s friend, “Aunt” Kate, comes with a boyfriend and a troubled six-year-old! Alice experiences waves o ...more
Mar 09, 2011 Gaby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Junonia introduces us to nine-year-old Alice Rice at the very start of her Florida vacation with her parents Tom and Pam. Alice is an only child and she longs for a larger family. Her parents were both only children and all her four grandparents are dead. Alice considers the neighbors that she spends summers with to be her extended family – the artist Helen Blair, her mother’s college friend Kate, the “ancient Mr. Barden,” the Wishmeiers and their three grandchildren.

The summer brings Alice some
Jan 23, 2013 Michele rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-s-books
Star parts: I read the first few pages on Amazon. As Alice Rice crosses the bridge to Sanipel Island the story is full of promise. Will Alice find the rare junonia shell? Will she enjoy her birthday, she's turning ten and I have to admit that I too had this kind of weird pleasure of reaching an age with double digits. All these things made me want to read on, as well as elegantly framed sentences. Henkes creates very realistic characters. Alice, Mallory, the Wishmeier's, all of them had their li ...more
Ann Haefele
Mar 03, 2012 Ann Haefele rated it liked it
When I began to read this book I thought this was going to be a 5 star book, but the more I read the less I liked it. It is a beautifully written book that centers more on the emotions of 10 year old Alice than events. Alice is spending a vacation on Sanibel Island with her parents and is disappointed that some of their other family friends can not make it. She must adjust to new experiences and has much difficulty doing so as she really wants the vacation to feel right and it doesn't feel right ...more
Eva Mitnick
Oct 03, 2011 Eva Mitnick rated it liked it
Shelves: children
The world of an only child is filled with grown-ups, or at least that's the case for Alice during an annual vacation in Florida. Generally there are other kids as well, but not this year, the year she is turning 10 years old. This year, the only other kid is the problematic Mallory, the 6-year-old daughter of Alice's Aunt Kate's new boyfriend.

So Alice spends her vacation, and her birthday, having attention lavished on her by the adults around her - but also having to be mature herself when relat
Dec 20, 2015 Erika rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This is the second middle grade novel I've read by Henkes and while I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much as Olive's Ocean, it was good. The author has an amazing ability to capture what it is to think and feel as a child and that was true of this story and its main character. I am still aiming to read all of Henkes' books because I really respect and enjoy his artistic process.
Roseamber Sumner
I love Kevin Henkes, I listened to this one on audio. It gave me that feeling of being a young kid, still wanting to hang out with my parents, expecting them to know me better than I know myself and discovering that even though that's changing, it's okay and they support me as I shoot from their bow.
Apr 11, 2011 Karen rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-or-mg-reads
First, let me start out by saying I love Kevin Henkes picture books. I had never read one of his longer works, so I looked forward to this one, the story of a young girl's yearly trip to the ocean with her family. Unfortunately, I was bored to tears. None of the lightness and humor that accomponies Henkes shorter works was in this one. It was very boring, and I would be hard-pressed to find a reader for this one in my library, as I think others would be, too. Perhaps there is a young girl who li ...more
Leah Jay
Jul 19, 2016 Leah Jay rated it it was ok
DNF for the characters that were trying too hard not to be bland but were anyway, and the main character who was unsatisfied with herself.
Sep 07, 2011 Ofilia rated it liked it
At first, this was a conflicted read for me. I wasn't a fan of Alice, the main character. She is a bit difficult and definitely sheltered often from her own displeasure. Her existence surrounded by adults who are in tune to her every breath is totally foreign to me. But Henkes writes so beautifully and the details of this little girl's eventual disappointments are so familiar, that it is difficult not to like her in the end. There is a genuine gentle type of heart ache that is simply part of gro ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Nicole rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: librarians
Shelves: middle-grade
This is one of those books that librarians love and teachers don't know what to do with. The protagonist is an incredibly introspective 9 year old on vacation with her family. The problem is that the emotions and reactions are those of a young child, but the language used is much older. What 7 year old can understand what the girl is saying and what 12 year old wants to read about a younger character? It falls awkwardly between grades in terms of appeal.

That aside, the story is a sweet one, verg
Alice and her parents always spend the week of her birthday at Sanibel Island with the same group of people. But this year some people are missing and new, unexpected people have arrived. All the changes to their usual week on Sanibal leave Alice feeling unsettled. She wants her tenth birthday to be special and she wants to find a rare Junonia shell to mark her special birthday.

A nice, subtle story about changing, growing up and how life does not always go the way we hope but that does not nece
Jan 23, 2016 Tory rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Junonia is written in spare, evocative language, but its simplicity belies deeper emotional complexities. Alice strikes me as a girl who gets upset about little things, but who is old enough to know that those little things SHOULDN'T bother her, and therefore she bottles all her anxieties and irritations up inside and doesn't let it show how upset she is. Junonia frustrated me because Alice was so unhappy/disappointed, so much of the time. I guess I'm far enough removed from childhood that I can ...more
Aug 16, 2015 blmagm rated it it was ok
Alice Rice and her parents return to Sanibel Island, this time to celebrate Alice's tenth birthday. However, the neighbors surrounding their beach cottage Scallop are different than in years past. Alice tries her best to adjust to the many changes, but it's difficult.
While reading this book, I was reminded of a visual exercise about self esteem a guidance counselor once demonstrated for my class. During this exercise the counselor held a balloon in her hand and told the story of a fictitious bo
Kat Green
Jul 01, 2015 Kat Green rated it liked it
This book is a testament to how truly challenging it is to write young adult, juvenile, or children's fiction that is ideally suited to its audience. Henkes strikes the balance between narration and image, suggestion and description almost perfectly in his picture books, but seems to be searching for that balance in this juvenile, chaptered book from the perspective of a young girl.

The book's flaws are not its subject matter or pacing or mood of "life is just not quite as wonderful as you are e
Apr 15, 2015 Bianca rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites, fiction
Junonia is a beautiful book about Alice's tenth birthday at her annual yearly trip to Florida. She spent her birthday at the cottage but she did not expect that the people who usual came, were not coming. She was devastated and thought that her birthday wouldn't be as great as she thought. Through the good and bad, she made a new friend who she may or may not see again. In the end, she had accused Mallory for stealing a gelato spoon of hers, but it was actually lost in the cupboard; she felt ter ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Junonia 1 5 Jan 01, 2013 01:43PM  
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Kevin Henkes became an author/illustrator when he was nineteen years old, working on a card table in his bedroom.
Today he's the author of many award-winning picture books and novels.
More about Kevin Henkes...

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“Because she was looking down and focusing her attention so precisely, Alice lost track of time and of herself. She wouldn't be able to put it into words, except to say she felt removed from the world. Or just at its edge. At the edge of the wild and beautiful world. She felt small, too. But part of something large. She was happy.” 4 likes
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