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The Line Tender

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  3,575 ratings  ·  784 reviews
The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.

Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Dutton
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Haley Whitworth If you're in the New England area, R.J Julia is a favorite indie of mine, but you can never go wrong with places like Barnes and Noble. That's where I…moreIf you're in the New England area, R.J Julia is a favorite indie of mine, but you can never go wrong with places like Barnes and Noble. That's where I picked up my copy :)(less)

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Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"My grief for her was like a circle. I always came around to missing her again."

The Line Tender resonated deeply with me right from the start. The first time I saw the cover and read the book I somehow knew exactly what I was in for. Not plotwise, simply the overall feeling. It's a sorrowful and hopeful, quiet and ultimately tender story.

At the centre of the story is Lucy, who loves her dad and misses her mum, a marine biologist with a passion for sharks. Her best friend, Fred, is the coolest gu
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having been a children's librarian for over 20 years, it's very rare for me to say that there's a new book unlike any I've read so far, but in this case, it's absolutely true. Kids are crazy about sharks. I'm crazy about sharks. So when this galley landed on my desk, with it's stunning, shark-filled cover and even more shark illustrations within, I was already in. But then the story and the characters took over and I couldn't help but fall in love with all of them: the heartbreaking Lucy who you ...more
Hannah Greendale
Apr 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
DNF at page 23 because the writing is abysmal.
There’s this song from the musical of Matilda that keeps going through my head when I read The Line Tender. Have you ever had a song get caught in your head because of an ironic connection? I’m sitting here, contemplating Kate Allen’s quiet, thoughtful, contemplative novel and then the lyrics from the song “Loud” appear in my brain. They say, “The less you have to sell, the harder you sell it / The less you have to say, the louder you yell it / The dumber the act, the bigger the confession / The ...more
Apr 08, 2021 rated it liked it
It has been a little bit since I have read a middle grade book, but I have really been in the mood for one recently. This book caught my eye because of the cover, and the premise sounded interesting too.

Kate Allen’s The Line Tender is a real and heartfelt look at loss and grief. Lucy Everhart lost her marine biologist mother when she was a young child, but as a preteen she is still reeling from her death. As Lucy enjoys the summer with her best friend Fred, their town is suddenly met with the a
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, you read about a book and it is so precisely your kind of book that you know without even reading it you'll love it. Such was the case with THE LINE TENDER, a debut middle grade coming from Dutton next spring. This book combines so many of my favorite things: a small seaside town, ocean life, grizzled fishermen, sweet preteen friendships, coming of age, and grief.

Kate Allen writes in a sparsely lyrical, straightforward voice; Lucy's discomfort in her own new-feeling body, her frustrat
Monica Edinger
First of all, a confession --- I tend to run the other way with "tender," "poignant," and "grief" in books for any age, especially if they are more or less contemporary. That said, I'd heard such praise for this title that I knew I had to read it. And having done so I completely understand the enthusiasm, while also having to say it still wasn't for me. The book is quiet, reflective, introspective, full of small moments, and long, long, long. I realize that when I do fall for this sort of book I ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, middle-years, arcs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate Olson
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Heartbreakingly, achingly, gorgeously sad. Also heartwarming and beautiful and excellently crafted - what an absolute gift of a book. All the superlatives - I sobbed and finished it in one afternoon.
This book is not for me. I do not feel/connect at all for the main character. Read up to 40% of the ebook.
A moving book about Lucy Everheart and her father. Lucy's mother died when she was seven. What remains is her marine biologist mother's love of the ocean and all things shark. As Lucy prepares for a long, lazy summer hanging out with her friend Fred, things begin to take a new turn when a great white shark is caught in the bay.

There are drawings here that are nicely done and a story that just swept me away with all of its heartache and healing.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2019-reads
This book. THIS BOOK.

This book will sit with me for a while. It is beautifully written and really dives into grief and the coping mechanisms we create for ourselves. I seriously want a copy for my own personal collection.
Jan 08, 2019 added it
Shelves: middle-grade
This middle-grade novel about loss, grief and recovery after a death has a second tragedy early in the story that, for me, came too soon, left me feeling cheated, and made the book top-heavy. My head understands why the author made this choice (it propels a grief-stuck family and friends to come to terms with the death of five years before), and yet my heart felt the second tragedy coming so soon in the book didn't give me sufficient time with and investment in the object of that tragedy. And st ...more
Laura Harrison
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite middle grade readers of 2019. Strong Newbery contender.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren Reed
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The Line Tender” written by Kate Allen is a soul-stirring upper middle grade novel that takes place in coastal Rockport, Massachusetts and follows almost 13 year old Lucy as she navigates her world without her mother by her side. Great white sharks permeate this heartening narrative bringing exciting facts and a bit of mystery around the sharks reemergence so far north.

Lucy, nor her father have quite come to terms with her mother’s unexpected death 5 years ago, but this generations old fishing
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful inside and out. I honestly have a huge fear of sharks and always will, but now I have a little bit more appreciation for them (though this book is not entirely about sharks). Even with my fear of sharks I loved just about everything in this book. Its more of a character driven book with sweet moment between people who are grieving and those who had drifted away. This is a sweet simple book that will tug at your heart strings yet leave a smile on your face.
Erin Kelly
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a poignant novel. It reminded me of The Thing About Jellyfish, which is one of my favorite books. The interior illustrations were beautiful. <3
Kim McGee
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A middle-grade coming of age story about a very resilient girl trying to make sense of her mother's death, her father's pulling back from the world and the sudden loss of her best friend. There are so many things a young girl has to deal with - her feelings towards boys, changes in her body and her independence from her parents but Lucy could not have been more unprepared to deal with this or anything else after she loses her best friend (and potential boyfriend) just a few years after losing he ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This book delivered an unexpected gut-punch that stayed with me through the end. The reason it’s so successful is that the reader truly gets to know these characters and they feel real. When a book can elicit such strong emotion in me, I recognize its power and the writer’s abilities, even if I don’t want to say that I “like” it. The Rockport, MA setting and Red Sox and Moxie references are an added bonus for this lifelong Sox fan. Highly recommended.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It was heartbreaking, hopeful, and witty all at the same time. I was rooting for Lucy and her community every step of their journey. This book was quite frankly beautiful and poignant, but also smart and thoughtful. I am not personally interested in marine biology, but I still found this book gripping. I recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction, and/or marine biology.
Ms. B
This may be the saddest book I have ever read. Not have a box of tissues nearby, simply sad. Fans of stories about grief Lindsey Stoddard's Right as Rain will like this one. ...more
Kati Polodna
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-totally-cried
I loved this. I loved the writing. I loved the characters. I held it to my chest when I was done.
This book came out of nowhere for me. I was hesitant to pick it up (the extra copy my library ordered has been sitting on my bedroom floor for months) but I finally decided to give it a try. For some reason, when I ordered it, I thought it was historical fiction. And I also thought it looked a bit weighty, in a bad way.

I was wrong on both of those accounts.

This is a deftly nuanced look at grief as it affects people in waves and ripples. It ties facts about sharks, and the ocean, into a look at
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was very good! I really enjoyed the way it was written and the details added. There was also many unexpected turns the book took, which made it even more fun to read. Also when reading this book I learned a lot about sharks I never knew before. I would definitely recommend this book to any reader!
Mar 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
The main theme of this book was loss.

There was more than one loss in this book and they affected Lucy differently. I thought that the climactic event occurred too quickly in the book and that the book dragged after that point. The writing and the character development, however, were great.

So my feelings about this book were mixed.
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book! 4+ stars
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can see why librarians like this, because it feels like the heir to Katherine Paterson during her Newbery era. The writing is beautiful and spare, and while the characters felt very REAL, they didn't feel entirely plausible. The imagery was so vivid that reading this was like watching an independent movie, but the plotting also felt like an independent movie, with quick cuts and abrupt transitions.

I liked it, even as I'm still forming opinions on it. Will kids like it? Maybe those who liked T
Lesley Burnap
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book! 💔❤️ I don’t think I can find the words to describe my feelings for Lucy, Fred, and all the characters. Found myself weeping, sobbing, and smiling at different places. The writing is gorgeous, and the setting is so familiar to me that it just felt like home. I don’t want to give anything away here, but this may be my favorite book of the summer and high up in my all-time fave list. The characters are connected to one another like the Tom’s (Lucy’s Dad) dive team, but it’s subtle and mo ...more
Laura Gardner
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read it in 3 straight hours. So unspeakably sad, but beautifully written.
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Mock Newbery 2022: August Read - The Line Tender 18 165 Aug 26, 2019 03:14PM  

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Kate Allen grew up in Massachusetts and lives in Minneapolis, USA, with her family. She studied writing in college. The Line Tender is her first novel. ...more

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“Don't resist pain.
...when you feel sad or angry or afraid, let yourself feel it.”
“But if you could tell science like a story, I'd pay attention." -Lucy” 2 likes
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