Clarion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Marley’s life is as precarious as an overfull water balloon—one false move and everything will burst. Her best friends are pulling away from her, and her parents, newly separated, have decided she should spend the summer with her dad in his new house, with a job she didn’t ask for and certainly doesn’t want. On the upside is a cute boy who loves dogs as much as Marley does . . . but young love has lots of opportunity for humiliation and misinterpreted signals. Luckily Marley is a girl who trusts her instincts and knows the truth when she sees it, making her an immensely appealing character and her story funny, heartfelt, and emotionally true.

"Vernick resembles Frances O'Roark Dowell and Rachel Vail in her ability to bring keen understanding and tender sympathy to the ordinary. (Marley's) thinning relationship with her friends is portrayed with awful authenticity ... Her adaptation, so gradual that she doesn't really notice it herself, is credibly and non-didactically depicted, and her reward of a relationship with a genuinely nice neighbor boy is one that readers will envy. Kids struggling with the challenges of identifying what changes are necessary and paying the price for those thrust upon them will be glad to see an author who gets it." --The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books (starred review)  

"Put this book on your 'must-have' list. It won't stay on the shelves long." --School Library Journal (starred review)  

"Vernick makes a very auspicious fiction debut here with her breezy, briskly paced tale, well-portrayed characters, authentic relationships and keen ear for realistic dialogue. The sweet, swoony young romance doesn't hurt either--preteen female readers will eat this up ... a harbinger of more good novels to come from this author." --Kirkus Reviews  

"Picture-book author Vernick delivers her first novel, a well-paced coming-of-age story that offers a realistic depiction of growing pains ... Vernick conveys Marley's uncertain navigation of new experiences and conflicting emotions with sincerity and keen perception." --Publishers Weekly