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Across the Pond

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  137 ratings  ·  48 reviews
From the author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost comes a heartwarming story about new beginnings, burgeoning friendships, and finding your flock.

Callie can’t wait for her new life to start. After a major friendship breakup in San Diego, moving overseas to Scotland gives her the perfect chance to reinvent herself. On top of that, she’s going to live in a real-life castle!

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 16th 2021 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Carol I’d say fifth is a good place, especially a book discussion, class read, family read? Callie has a friend in sixth (summer after) who pressures her an…moreI’d say fifth is a good place, especially a book discussion, class read, family read? Callie has a friend in sixth (summer after) who pressures her and if their friends to attend a high school party where there’s drinking, smoking, etc. that make her very uncomfortable. Another friend was also uncomfortable, but chooses differently than Callie due to the pressure. There are so many friend issues, peer pressure, how/when to stand up as yourself themes in this book. It’s incredible for that!(less)

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Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Across the Pond is a charming, sensitive middle grade book about moving to a new country and finding your tribe. Set in breathtaking Scotland and featuring a birdwatching protagonist and diary entries from a 1939 war evacuee, this book provides an engaging mix of historical and contemporary fiction. If you like books about families, birds, disentangling from toxic friendships, and finding friends that feel like family, this is your pick.

Read my full review on my blog.

Many thanks to the publisher
Ms. Yingling
Jan 28, 2021 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Callie is okay with her parents leaving San Diego and moving to a castle they have inherited in Scotland. Lady Whittington-Spence, a woman they befriended when they were young died without heirs, leaving the mouldering edifice to them, but they are lucky enough to get a grant to repair the facilities and turn it into a tourist destination. Callie's brother Jax is seven and makes friends easily, so he's fine with the move, but Callie is apprehensive. She had some d
Laura Bang
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, childrens
I really loved this story of tween Callie who is relieved to move with her family to Scotland after a serious friendship breakup at her previous home in California. Her family have inherited a decrepit castle because her parents were nice to the last titled owner while they were grad students renting a cottage from her so she left them her castle in her will. (They are also lucky enough to get a grant to restore said castle into a tourist destination.) Callie is still getting over what happened ...more
I adored this book, and not just because I’ve spent most of the pandemic dreaming about living in a castle somewhere. This is a lovely book with strong characters, a gorgeous setting, an unusual pastime, and a sweet friendship.
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is exactly the type of book I would have loved as a child (and let's be honest -- I loved it now as an adult). Callie is a introverted bookworm dealing with losing her closest friends right before a move. Understandably, she has trust issues, and she convinces her parents to homeschool her for the rest of the semester.

There aren't very many middle-grade novels with homeschooled kids, so I KNOW my girls will enjoy reading about Callie's journey, as she builds community in her new town and st
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book combines so many elements I love: wildlife facts, armchair travel, challenging the patriarchy, a bit of history...and some really lovely characters finding friendship in one another just when they need it most. Highly recommended!
Danielle Hammelef
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed my trip to Scotland and the chance to get to know Callie and her loving and close family. The friendships and ties to history of the castle's previous owner delighted me. After finishing this book, I'm inspired to learn even more about the birds local to me. ...more
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A great middle school read. Also suitable for slightly younger readers, grades 4 & up. Don’t let the bird-watching/twitching theme put you off, it’s more about friendship, confidence feel-esteem. And a bit of Scotland for a great setting.
Emily Bush
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Having been to Scotland a few years ago, I loved reading this book. Callie and her family move “across the pond” because her parents inherited a castle. Because she’s been having some friend issues, Callie is excited for a new start. Once there, Callie convinces her parents to homeschool her, she joins a twitching (birding) club, and makes some new friends. When those new friendships hit a snag, Callie has to decide what being a friend really means. I think a lot of middle graders will be able t ...more
so. i feenished acrooss the poonde und...

nah. we're not writing a whole review like that.

i really enjoyed this comfort read. full of **british tings** so we love that.
but it did feel arc-ish in that (shocking. of course it felt "arc-ish." it's an arc. anyways.) there were a few things that they hinted at and then we never heard anything else about. which is very annoying, because as you know i grow very attached to characters, and can't have them hinting at backstories and then never following u
This book surpised me. I really loved it. Callie looks forward to new friends, a new school and a whole new life for herself and her family as they move overseas from San Diego to Scotland. Her parents plan to renovate a brooding castle into a bed & breakfast. Things don't go quite as planned for Callie. But she still learns a lot of making friends, girl power in the face of sexist bird-watching club leaders, and the power of community. I particularly loved how the "twitching club" evolved--you' ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book for so many reasons: 1. Scotland!! The setting of a Scottish castle and adorable quaint town made me want to go back for another visit ASAP. 2. The characters - especially the awesome librarian Esme. Also liked the inclusion of Raj a boy of South Asian heritage. Finally, I really identified with the main character Callie. When I was a middle schooler, I too felt caught between doing what I felt was right and peer pressure. So many of my peers seemed to be in a hurry to grow up ...more
Mar 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Source: ARC from author

Across the Pond is a delightful travel novel sure to please readers who enjoy vicariously exploring other countries. Callie and her family move to Scotland when her parents decide to renovate an old castle left to them by a deceased friend. Callie is initially excited to be leaving her old life behind–her friends were mean and she now has some anxiety about attending school and fitting in. But Scotland does not turn out to be quite the new start Callie hoped, and she soon
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
A sweet middle grade contemporary about a young girl Callie who has had a rough time with friends and peer pressure. When her parent’s tell her and her brother that they inherited a castle in Scotland she thinks this is just what she needed and a way to reinvent herself and be someone different and make new friends.

Things don’t go as she hoped because when her mom takes her to the school to see about registering she is introduced to a class and stumbles over her words, kids snicker and now she d
This one was a 3.5 for me, and I really enjoyed watching the protagonist, seventh-grader Callie Feldmuth, come into her own after her family moves from San Diego to live in Scotland. They have inherited a castle and lands from an elderly woman who was the Feldmuths' landlord when they attended the university there years ago. Callie is thrilled to live in a castle even though it needs many repairs before its facilities can be rented out, but mostly, she is happy to have left all the drama associa ...more
Callie’s family is moving a long way from California and everything she’s ever known. They’ve lived a tight existence economically (California, two working parents barely making it). She has always shared a room with her younger brother, Jax. He wasn’t keen on the move—he was born gregarious unlike Callie who just doesn’t speak that language. She second guesses her every word and move, her friends have abandoned her after a huge, dramatic fight. She is FINE with moving anywhere!

The move will be
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story follows Callie, a 7th grade girl from California, as she and her family move to Scotland to live in a castle they inherited. She struggles with making friends in her new foreign home. She is holding onto the baggage of a betrayal by her 3 closest friends. She now has trouble trusting people's motives. She convinces her parents to let her homeschool instead of attending the local high school, but she needs a social outlet or they will make her enroll. She is not sporty or musical and h ...more
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed this book.

This is a middle grade book, beautifully written about a girl and her family as they move from California to Scotland to live in a castle they inherited. The story is told from Callie's point of view as she leaves behind friendships that turned sour and is hoping for a fresh start in a new country. Things did not go as planned, but Callie learned valuable lessons along the way and found her people.

The author told a beautiful story that was natural, without being preachy,
I've fallen in love with YA books. They are just charming, full of lovely characters and real-life situations. This one features "twitching", Scottish slang for bird watching, friendship, a helpful (of course) librarian, and a castle in Scotland. What more can you ask for?

The story includes diary entries from 1939 when the castle's prior owner, Pippa, was evacuated to a rural family as a pre-teen, describing her sense of displacement. She is also a serious bird watcher.

So travel "across the pond
With thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for an early copy in return for an honest review.

I love when books have a strong sense of setting and Across the Pond definitely does! I think kids will enjoy getting to travel through the pages to Scotland and imagine what it would be like to live in your very own castle.

I think the themes related to friendship and family will be relatable to middle grade kids as they wrestle with figuring out who their "flock" is as they ar
Darlene Ivy
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
When Callie's family unexpectedly inherits a castle in Scotland and moves there, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself after a peer pressure situation in her California hometown turned ugly. But, building new friendships is a lot harder than re-building an ancient castle. Luckily, she discovers Esme (the local Scottish librarian), Raj (a friendly local student), and Sid (the landscaper's granddaughter). And, an old birding journal of the castle's past owner. Birding is called "twitching" i ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing

I was drawn in immediately to Callie’s story and enjoyed the different themes throughout. A story of friendship, finding yourself and your people, bird watching, oh- and set in a beautiful castle in Scotland- what isn’t there to love? Personally I have never been into bird watching, but by the end of the story I actually could see myself trying it! There are also excerpts from an old journal that magically intertwine with Callie’s story. Definitely one I will be recommending.
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and Antheneum Books for making an advance copy of this title available for an honest review.

Whether the pond in question is the Atlantic or an estate's small lake, there's something to be said for crossing over and trying to bridge the gap with those on the other side. This book is really about finding and making a home and about the importance of neighbors to make a home more than a place of residence. It's a heartwarming tale full of love and good advice.
Eileen Winfrey
Callie moves with her family to Scotland where her parents will restore a castle that has been left to them and turn it into a tourist destination. In Scotland, Callie tries to reinvent herself a little, to banish memories of friends-turned-enemies back home and along the way finds two new friends and a new hobby in bird watching (as well as a wonderful librarian). Leisurely paced, familial, tender.
May 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
A perfectly fine read, but not terribly memorable. I didn't feel much connection to the castle or the surrounding village. Otherwise, an enjoyable afternoon read. The diary entries from Pippa felt a little disjointed; maybe the tone and writing felt a little too contemporary. The peer pressure and being afraid to stand up for fear of being socially ostracized was written realistically, but again the characters didn't feel very personable to me, almost like they could've been fleshed out more. ...more
May 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Callie and her family move to a castle in Scotland in this warm tale of bird watching and finding friends. Callie discovers the 1939-40 journal and bird list of the castle's former resident, Lady Whittington-Spence, which adds a layer of history. There's also a bit about peer pressure, and learning who your true friends are. And -- a great librarian! ...more
😍!! I loved this middle grade so much cause you can relate to it in so many Different ways! You should read this book if you want hear about Scotland, moving, castles, friend ship, or twitching (what they call bird watching in Scotland)!
Dara Yoder
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I rarely give too many 5 star reviews. I think I loved this book! I loved the setting, I loved the topic of 'birding,' and I LOVED the castle!

So many moving parts made a great story!

Charles Bellavia
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
'Across the Pond" was received in a Goodreads Giveaway. I gave it to my 12 year old granddaughter. This is her review: "5 stars!! This book made me want to live in a castle. Joy McCullough uses words to transform fiction into reality!" ...more
Kimberly Gutierrez
Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I so want to live where this girl moved! What an adventure! How hard to move across the world, but a new beginning this would be. I loved feeling what she felt and learning how she navigates so much change. I truly enjoyed this middle grade novel. Thanks for sharing with #bookposse!
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