Running through Sprinklers by Michelle KimRunning through Sprinklers by Michelle Kim

Running through Sprinklers

byMichelle Kim

Hardcover | April 17, 2018

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Two life-long best friends grow up and begin to grow apart in this honest, deeply felt middle grade debut.

Sara and Nadine.
Nadine and Sara.

It’s only ever been the two of them. Two halves of the same person. Best friends forever—until they aren’t.

Everything has changed this year. Nadine has suddenly skipped a grade and gone to high school without Sara. No matter how hard she fights to save their friendship, Sara can feel it slipping away.

But change can happen from the inside, too. The forever-friend days of running through sprinklers and slurping up ice cream cones may be over. Yet in their place, Sara just might discover something new and wonderful: herself.
Title:Running through SprinklersFormat:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:April 17, 2018Publisher:Atheneum Books For Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481495283

ISBN - 13:9781481495288

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story! This is a great middle grade novel about real life. Sara tells this story through her memories and things that are happening to her right now. The story takes place throughout one year, her last year of elementary school. She experiences many things, such as losing friends, making friends, puberty, and even a friend going missing. Some of the things that Sara goes through are sad, but it reflects real life. Her friendship with her best friend, Nadine, breaks apart when Nadine is moved ahead a grade and into high school. Also, Sara’s brother’s friend goes missing, and they are the last ones who saw him, so they feel like they have to help find him. Though these experiences are tough to read about, they are things that kids may experience in real life, so it is important that their books reflect that. I enjoyed this book, and I recommend it for middle grade readers! I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Date published: 2018-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A very good read This is a very charming story with an immersive character development. The important concepts of friendship and dealing with loss is illustrated in serious, humorous, and adorable fashion, which makes this book a very enjoyable and relatable read for a teenager like myself.
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! This is a fast, fun read. The style of writing is very poetic.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So cute! This book totally captures what it's like to be on the cusp of adolescence. I love this book; it was so adorable. Also, it made me crave Korean food!
Date published: 2018-03-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok but not great. I loved the premise of this book of discovering yourself and who your are without your friends would have been fantastic but as I read this book that's not what I got from it at all. It was scattered and the main protagonist was self centered. I found myself disappointed that this book wasn't what I expected it to be.
Date published: 2018-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Running Through Sprinklers Does a brilliant job of conveying how it feels when you outgrow a friendship and the challenges of being that in between age, not a little kid anymore, but not a teen yet either. I received this ARC through a giveaway. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-02-13

Read from the Book

Running through Sprinklers 1 IT’S AUGUST and the refrigerator is Nadine Ando’s dance partner. She puts her hand through its handle and swings it open to cool her body down. Plants her right foot on the floor, pulling her left leg behind her, her toes a perfect point. Then in one swift motion, she flips over and bends into a backbend and shows off her belly button to the ceiling. A dip into the clear bin, VEGETABLES, and then she comes up with one single carrot. “I’m on a diet,” she says, and walks over to the kitchen table, where I am. Me: “Why?” “Just trying to be healthy,” she says. Crunch. Crunch. “What are you eating?” Crunch. I look down: Steaming-hot ramen noodles with ice cubes swimming in a salty, beige soup. The ice cubes are a trick I use to cool the soup down just a bit. They make large oily swirls around the white noodles. I like how the noodles look, blond and crimped, like my old Cabbage Patch Kid’s hair. Jen, in the hall: “Hey, didn’t you eat, like, half a chocolate cake last night?” Jen is Nadine’s sister. She’s ten, a year younger than us. “Diet, my butt!” she says. Mrs. Ando, somewhere in the house: “Everyone in the minivan now! And, Jen, watch your language! Christ.” In the grocery store: Mrs. Ando, Nadine, Jen, their little sister Megan, and me. Mrs. Ando is pushing a shopping cart down the canned-soup aisle. She picks up a can of clam chowder. Nadine gives me a look, as if saying, I hope that’s not tonight’s dinner. She cups my elbow and whispers, “Let’s go.” We run. Race ahead to the meat section, guessing which part of the cow’s body is mushed-up behind the plastic wrap. To the vegetable and fruit section, little sprinklers spraying a light mist on our faces. To the school-supply section, giving each other tattoos with black pens, then changing our minds, trying to rub them off, red skin, no luck. To the makeup section, where Nadine swipes a tester of red lip gloss across my lips. “You’re so pretty,” she says. When school starts, Nadine and I will be in grade seven, which will be our last year of elementary school, which means we will be the oldest. So maybe I should start wearing red lip gloss. I look in a mirror: It looks like I ate raspberry jam. It kinda tastes like jam too. Um. Maybe I won’t get it after all. We all meet up at the checkout counter. Each kid has picked something out: Nadine vanilla lip gloss, me some grape-flavored gum, Jen a newspaper, Megan a sniffle from the frozen foods section. And Mrs. Ando still has the clam chowder. Nadine flashes me a look, as if saying, We’re definitely eating at your house tonight. The cashier is a tall blond woman. She looks like a model, even in her red-and-white uniform. She slides each item through the scanner. Beep. Beep beep. The lip gloss, beep. She keeps looking at us kids, at Mrs. Ando, then back at us kids. She asks, “Are these all yours?” “No.” Mrs. Ando laughs. “One isn’t. Guess which it is.” The cashier points to Megan, whose skin is a lot lighter than the rest of ours. Mrs. Ando shakes her head and lightly places her hand on my head. “It’s this one.” We jump out of the minivan as soon as Mrs. Ando pulls into the carport. We run down the driveway. Nadine grabs my hand. “Where are you going?” Mrs. Ando asks. “Fraaaaaance,” Nadine hollers back. “Are you having dinner over there?” “Yeaaaaaaaah,” we sing. There are six houses in our cul-de-sac. Six different houses, in six different colors, which have probably changed colors six different times: peach yellow blue green rose white. My house is light brown, like a paper bag. And we have the largest front yard in the cul-de-sac, perfect for summer sprinkler run-throughs. There is the Cortes house, which is dark brown with caramel garage doors, like a chocolate bar. Then it’s the Chin house, which used to be Marty’s—it’s the exact same green as Green Timbers Forest, our favorite place to play hide-and-seek, a few blocks beyond the cul-de-sac. The baby yellow Singh house, then the lighter green Koffmann house (green tea ice cream), and finally, behind us, the prettiest house of all . . . The Ando house. It’s a bluish-gray color and sometimes, when it’s about to rain, you can’t tell the difference between the house and the sky. It has two big front windows that look like two big eyes staring back at you. And when it does rain, the water slides down the glass, like tears; it’s so pretty. And through these windows, you can almost always see everything the family does, especially at night, when the blue flicker of the television makes dancing shadows glow. We stop and look both ways before crossing the street. There never are any cars. It is a cul-de-sac, after all. But we look, or at least make it look like we’re looking, and dart across the circle of cement like mice on a kitchen floor. I hold my breath as we cross. Nadine and I are sitting crossed-legged on my bedroom floor, chewing grape gum and making friendship bracelets for each other, weaving our favorite colors together. Pink is hers, purple is mine. My ten-year-old brother, James, comes in to watch. The smell of bulgogi swirls up the staircase, into my room, and up our noses. This smell of garlic and sweet soy sauce means “Go downstairs.” Standing at the top of the staircase, I hear familiar sounds. I can tell that Auntie Moon and Uncle Dong are over because Mom’s speaking louder. It’s like her volume goes up or something when she speaks Korean. “Hello, Sara!” Auntie Moon says. I love Auntie Moon’s face. It glows, like a moon. But I think that’s just her moisturizer or whatever. She and my uncle, who aren’t exactly my aunt and uncle, are sitting on the wooden stools that surround the kitchen island, watching my mother wrestle with opening a glass jar, throwing her head back, laughing loudly, the way she always does when we have people over for dinner. Dad is home early from work and quietly circles them, pouring red wine. Finally, Mom releases the jar’s strong smell: kimchi. Nadine watches Mom. “Your mother is the most beautiful woman I know,” Nadine once told me. Mom stands at five foot four. She is thin, size 4, she once told me, which is weird because I’m a size 14 . . . but I guess that’s kids’ sizing. Her face is the shape of a flattened heart, with brown eyes, a small nose, and full lips, the only plump thing on her body. She never wears any makeup, except a deep red lipstick, two rose petals on her face. And it never comes off. Even when she eats, even when my dad kisses her, even at bedtime when she comes in my room to say good night. “Sara Smith, did you practice piano today?” She furrows her brow, like she’s actually saying, “Get your act together.” “Tomorrow. I promise,” I say. Her brow irons out a bit. In the frying pan: The meat sizzles louder, then softer, depending on how my mother’s chopsticks slide across. Mom rips pieces of lettuce (water droplets fly!) and stacks each thin, crisp leaf on top of the others on a paper towel. Finally, the rice cooker’s red light turns off, giving us the go-ahead. “Okay, everyone.” Mom laughs. “Buffet-style.” Though we’ve done this a million times, I show Nadine how to hold the lettuce in her palm, spread hot rice on it, plop a few pieces of bulgogi on top, wrap it, and pop it in her mouth. “It’s called ssam,” I explain. We do this over and over again, and our mouths love the cold of the lettuce, the warmth of the rice, and the saltiness of the meat. And Nadine and I are glad that we decided to eat on this side of the street tonight. I was just a year old when I first met Nadine Ando. We were the first families to move into the cul-de-sac. My parents were pushing my stroller down the driveway to take me to the edge of Green Timbers Forest to pick some blackberries because my dad wanted to make a pie. Mr. and Mrs. Ando were doing the same, carrying ice cream buckets and pushing Nadine’s stroller. Her younger sister, Jen, then only a few months old, was strapped to Mr. Ando’s chest. Mom said me and Nadine wouldn’t stop looking at each other. “It was like seeing your reflection in a mirror,” she said. “Right down to the mole above your lip.” And for a long time, I thought the way we and our siblings looked was totally normal. I think it’s because up until I was, like, five or something, I truly believed everyone everywhere had one Asian parent and one white parent.

Editorial Reviews

“Debut author Kim deftly and sympathetically evokes Sara’s confusion, grief, and anger during this year of upheaval. . . . [an] introspective story of moving from childhood (characterized by glorious days of running through sprinklers) to adolescence.”