TITLE: The Age of Our Hearts
GENRE: MG - (very recent) historical fiction
Even before the 9/11 attacks, eighth grade soccer teammates Mel Miller and Rima Hassan are questioning whether they should be friends. After the attacks, the girls try to mend their troubled relationship. But can a broken friendship do anything but hurt, especially in such a broken time?
It’s kind of silly to have an athletic award ceremony at a public library, but nobody asked me. And I’m jumping-out-of-my-skin excited anyway.
This is the first award I’ve ever gotten, unless you count the time I won a rubber frog keychain in the ring toss at the school carnival. Realistically, that doesn’t seem like something anyone should count.
I’ve been ticking off the days to the ceremony in a tiny corner of the sky-blue journal Rima and I share. And I’m still holding out a final, shaky hope that Rima will show up. That my best friend will be here. Like she promised.
My mom sits next to me, smiling as though I’m winning an Oscar or something. My dad’s on my mom’s other side, still wearing his custodian pants. The deep navy blends into the darkness, which I’m hoping means no one will notice he’s a janitor. Maybe the baggy blue pants can pass for hospital scrubs, like the ones Tory Tyson’s stepdad always wears to our games.
We listen to the Courier staff hand out the other awards. There’s the longest-serving Little League coach. The Teammate of the Year, who raised a bunch of money when her tennis partner’s house got hit by a tornado.
My dad curls one hairy, lanky arm around my mom. With his stretched-out hand, he taps my shoulder, then nods at the program resting in my lap.
“There’s your name, up next! That’s our Mel-ificent Mel.”