THE PLOT (From Harper Collins Publishers)

Twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein’s year has gone from bad to worse. First, her best x510friend, Nina, moved from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. Then, without Nina around, Cove became the target of a bullying campaign at school. Escape seems impossible.

But opportunities can appear when you least expect them. Cove’s visit to a secondhand clothing store leads her to a surprising chance to visit Nina, but only if she can win a coveted place in a kids-only design competition. Cove doesn’t know how to sew, but her friend at the retirement home, Anna, has promised to teach her. And things start really looking up when a new kid at school, Jack, begins appearing everywhere Cove goes.

Then Cove makes a big mistake. One that could ruin every good thing that has happened to her this year. One that she doesn’t know how to undo.


MY TAKE: Martha’s Vineyard sounds like a wonderful place to be, but not if you’re Cove Bernstein. She’s grown up there and never been anywhere else. Her mom feels safe on the island teaching yoga and selling her framed quotes at the town’s Artist’s Market—staying clear of the commercialism and social media that controls the world. Dad is absent having left before Cove was born. When best friend Nina moves away, the other girls begin wearing elitist t-shirts with an unwelcome saying. They also bark when Cove is near and refer to her as Rover.

In desperation comes new friends from various generations that will help her cope. Same age Jack, twenty-something Jonah who works in a second hand clothing store, and dear Anna, living her days out in a retirement home. It’s a unique set of characters ready to support and encourage in different ways. Mailed letters to Nina also help keep their friendship active in a different way.

Told in first person by Cove, she accurately depicts the angst many tweens go through as the past and future pull in different directions. The setting and narration make this one shine.


OUT OF PLACE by Jennifer Blecher

  1. A reality TV show about a fashion competition in nearby New York City was the perfect connection for Cove and drove the plot forward in a unique way.
  2. The letters written by Cove and Nina were spot on for their voice and depiction of  being twelve-years-old.
  3. Martha’s Vineyard was not a place I’d ever read about in a MG book. Made me want to be one of those tourists visiting the shops and Artist’s Market.
  4. Not many illustrations but the ones included will often make you smile.
  5. Doing something before you think is the mistake made and learned from by many young people. The one Cove and Nina make are believable and rather heartbreaking.


I wonder now if Mom watched my dad leave. Did she wave to him from the dock as he drove his car onto the ferry? Did she feel as sad as I feel? Why didn’t she go with him? There are so many things I want to know, but one in particular that I need to know.

“Mom. please,” I say. “Tell me why we never leave Martha’s Vineyard.”



Have you ever noticed how some girls sparkle? How they walk down the school hallways setting off confetti bombs of excitement? Jen is not one of those girls. Never has been, never will be. She’s the kind of girl who hangs off to the side, thinking and writing about what she sees.

When Jen was in fifth grade her family moved cities. At her new school a group of older girls decided that Jen looked like a dog. They barked at her in the hallways and called her Rover. It was no big deal! Jen was totally cool with it! So cool, in fact, that she didn’t tell a single adult about it for twenty five whole years. Because really, she could handle it!

Jen got married and became a mother to three wonderful, silly, creative girls. She wrote for magazines, for herself, and for her daughters. One snowy day, a character popped into Jen’s head. The character was twelve years old. She was sad because her best friend had moved away and she was left behind to face a group of girls who -you guessed it- barked at her and called her Rover… (For the rest of her story see Jennifer’s author web site)


I received a copy for my honest review. Please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to OUT OF PLACE

  1. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a fantastic book! It’s always interesting to see novels where characters of different ages can still find common ground. The competition aspect sounds neat as well! Thanks so much for the review!

  2. Can’t believe the author sat on her own encounter with mean girls for 25 years before sharing it. What a great story to share — many girls will relate to this story on some level. I wasn’t a girl who sparkled in school, so I know the feeling. Sounds like a good summer read before school starts soon.

  3. Why do I feel like I read a book set on Martha’s Vineyard when I was a child? Maybe a detective/mystery story with a brother and sister. Okay, now this is going to bother me! I do like books where the setting is almost another character.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Looks good. Not sure I’ve read an MG story about Martha’s Vineyard, either.

  5. Sounds like a great story. I like the connection between generations. And I haven’t read anything in this setting either.

  6. Oh, my. This sounds so good. I will try to get a copy soon. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. You’ve convinced me, Greg. I must read this novel! Thanks for the in-depth review and for sharing this one with us for MMGM.

  8. Sue Heavenrich says:

    This is one I am looking forward to reading!

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