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Ebb and Flow

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  114 reviews
One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo's.
It was my mother's idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a n
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Kids Can Press
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  364 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Trigger warnings include domestic violence and child abuse.

First, an admission. I used to be a free verse snob, prejudging something I had no experience reading. That all changed the day I discovered Ellen Hopkins and realised that some of the most emotional and engaging books are written in this format, so I was excited to see what Ebb and Flow had in store for me. Beside the joy of appreciating the story and characters, it also had me ugly crying in the form of “This is so beautiful!” 😭. So,
[Shai] Bibliophage
Ebb & Flow's story is splendidly written in the free-verse form that can be easily comprehend even kids below its target audience. It is about Jett, a 12-year old boy who had a rough year and was sent away from the mainland to his grandmother for a vacation.
Problems emerged when Jett befriended Junior, a troubled classmate that acts as a bully; Jett behaved like Junior, but he still tried to think straight instead of always obeying Junior. However, he was still included in the troubles Ju
"On the shoreline there was a lion, tame enough to be climbed, wild enough to play with the waves [...] I will stay here until I get stranded. The water will get higher and higher and no one will be able to reach me, to save me, and I will deserve it. I will deserve to be stranded on an island all by myself."

The fortunes of life are much like the waters of the sea, full of malice as often as they are full of kindness, both on different flipsides of the same waves. This Ebb and Flow gently pluc
Vikki VanSickle
I love verse novels for their musicality, emotional potency, and voice. It is no surprise to me that Heather Smith, who delivers these things in her prose, would also be a fantastic free verse writer. This is a lovely, sad, ultimately hopeful story about a boy who has made a terrible mistake and is spending the summer with his Grandmother in Newfoundland to get some perspective and hopefully forgive himself. Jett's relationship with his "cotton candy" grandmother is very tender and she is exactl ...more
Yay, another book by Heather! I knew I'd want to read it straight through so I had to save it for when I had a bit of time. It did not disappoint!
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: march-2018, kindle
I have not read many free verse novels before, but have enjoyed a couple by Sarah Crossan which use the same technique. Thus, my interest in Heather Smith's Ebb and Flow was piqued. Eleven-year-old Jett is quite a complex construction, naive in some ways, but worldly wise in others, and clearly very troubled. Smith's way of telling Jett's story is refreshing and engaging, and whilst I found it a bit lacking in some ways, it should be praised for exploring important themes, such as disability, vi ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Jett finds himself at his grandmother's house for the summer after he got into some major trouble. His summer is spent unpacking what led up to the events of last year. He discusses problems with his father being in jail, his bully friend, who is also going through his own tough time.

This novel in verse will appeal to reader who may be experiencing similar issues.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. While seemly an odd choice for a mid-grade novel the free verse style make poetry accessible and relevant to young readers. The imagery is simple but poignant. The complicated subject matter is revealed in a beautiful narrative that young readers cannot only understand but with which they can relate on multiple levels. This is one of the finest mid-grade novels I have ever read.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fast read.
Kara Bernard
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ebb & Flow is a children’s novel about a boy, a “big little man,” mistakes, and regret. It touches on some tough subjects, including domestic abuse and alcoholism. Despite its simplicity, this book was intense. It will make you uncomfortable, and it will piss you off, but it’s still a very important book. I’m a little surprised that it’s being marketed towards a younger audience, but honestly, I feel like kids need to be aware of this kind of thing so they can recognize it when it’s happenin ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - This is a story about an eleven-year-old boy who has weathered a tough year filled with mistakes and poor judgement and now he must learn to come to terms with the consequences. Once again Smith uses her superpower of using a simpler writing style yet still conveying big issues and empathy for her main character. Like in her previous book, The Agony of Bun O'Keefe (which I adored!), Smith deftly captures the inner talk of preteen Jett and has created a character that readers will con ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ebb & Flow was a unique find on the J Fiction "New Arrival" shelf at my local library. It follows Jett Plane, a bot who is spending the summer with his grandma on the New England Coast.

The entire story is written in free verse. It is the perfect medium for dealing with the reflections and traumas that a child deals with. Heather Smith's descriptions shine in the various "chapters" and the characters are well rendered. The story is poignant and an excellent reminder of the healing nature of f
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big fan of free verse (I think that is what this is called...) but it reads well and is a quick story. It was interesting and well told Jett's not having a good year and his mom sends him to live with his grandma where he tries to make some sense of his life and mistakes he's made. 6th grade up will likely enjoy this story. May even be timely for some kids.
Mary Lee
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Verse novel that shows an eleven year-old boy, Jett, who's done something "really bad" coming to grips with what he's done, who he is, and the possibility of a fresh start. He has a quirky and accepting grandmother who gives him time, space, and a belief in his true identity.
Sylvia McNicoll
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Writing this in verse made the story short and therefor more emphatic and emotional. It captures that moment when you do something incredibly cruel that reverberates negatively in your actions for a long time. Then it demonstrates the joy and victory of redemption.
Ms. Yingling
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Public library copy.
April Hoy
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised there is not more talk of this as a Newbery contender. Exceptional.
A boy goes to stay with his Grandmother on the beach to come to terms with his own and his father's bad decisions. Beautifully written in prose. Great title.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love stories written in verse and this one is no exception.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A solid introduction into free verse middle grade fiction. Thanks for the recommendation, Brystan!
Ebb and Flow is a verse novel that follows Jett, a young boy who has had a terrible year, and his "cotton candy" grandma (so named due to the color of her hair). The story goes back and forth from the present day summer on the island Jett used to live on and the past school year on the mainland where Jett did something terrible. Although I found the writing beautiful, the characters came off a little thin. I wish there had been a little more time spent on the backstory of Jett and his mother. Al ...more
Mpur Chan
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Why can't things just stay the same?
Because life is like the tides.
In, out.
Back, forth.
Push, pull.
High, low.
You just have to go with the flow, you know?

I discovered a book titled Ebb And Flow when I was trying to look for a heartwarming book. These days, I feel that I need a help for my soul, and need to do something that can inspire me to be a better person. Maybe a time to meditate. Maybe discovering a good book. And finally I found a chance. Kids Can Press granted me to read their book
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
jeb i love you boo
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit
There are few things as luxurious to me as wandering into the kids' section of the library and browsing the new books. Kids' books just always look so inviting - bright colours, bold titles, magic, fantasy, etc. Basically all the good things you could ever want in a library.

So you can imagine how disappointing it is when you don't find something awesome. I must have spent about 10 minutes desperately pulling books out before I found this one. As soon as I saw it was written in verse I knew it wa
“I shook my head
Because in my stories I wasn’t a hero.
I was a villain.”

“I never used to be mean..” Jett is staying with Grandma Jo to forget his “rotten bad year.” Jett and his mother had moved to the mainland after Jett’s father went to jail as a way to get a fresh start. Then Jett hooks up with Junior Dawson, mostly because he’s the kind of kid who would be impressed if Jett told Junior his dad was in jail (not that he was going to.)

Junior Dawson is mean. And “Sometimes, being mean was contag
Jo Sorrell
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks again Netgally for granting me the privilege of reading this excellent work of young adult fiction.

After “a rotten bad year,” Jett’s mother sends him to live with his grandmother on the rocky eastern shore. The bad year began with Jett’s father becoming incarcerated for a drunken driving accident. Jett’s mother feels a summer with grandmother will give him fresh start. In flashbacks, the reader learns that Jett befriended a school bully named Junior. Jett is eleven years old and Junior is
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ebb and Flow is a sad, emotionally laden story of sins, redemption and forgiveness. It is written in free verse and as such leads to tremendous teaching opportunities. Because rhyming poetry is so easily identifiable for children, it can be difficult to explain the difference between poetry and prose when the poetry does not rhyme. Ebb and Flow is a whole book of examples to demonstrate the concept. It also is an excellent exemplar of poetry as a form of storytelling. The poems in this book demo ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grades 4 through 6
I have a tendency to give everything I read high marks simply because I love to read, however, I rarely assign 4 of 4. I must admit the artistry of poetic form in this book has allowed Heather Smith to handle the ugliest of marginalized situations for the young child is just simply unquestionably wonderful and gentle. This book slowly addresses one summer in the life of a child whose life has been shattered by the incarceration of his father, revealing his father’s drunk driving that caused the ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book might divide some people - and perhaps lose some of its potential audience - by being presented in free verse, but it's all the fresher for it. The sparsely-worded pages also help disguise the slightness of the story, although in the end it certainly is rich enough to justify the entrance price. A lad has a problematic year, and so gets to spend the summer with his gran in her old house to get his head straight - but it's not only his problems he has to parse. Can he work out for all o ...more
Mary Mckelvin
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Goodreads Librari...: Book linking to wrong author 6 17 Dec 23, 2017 04:12PM  
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Originally from Newfoundland, Heather Smith now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, with her husband and three children. Her Newfoundland roots inspire much of her writing.
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then I will stay here
until I get stranded.
The water will get
higher and higher
and no one will be able to reach me,
to save me,
and I will deserve it.
I will deserve to be stranded
on an island
all by myself.”
More quotes…