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It is summertime, and twelve-year-old Julia Richards cannot stand the anticipation. Everyone on Darcy Lane seems to be holding their breath waiting for the cicadas to emerge, but what Julia and her best friend, Taylor, want is some real excitement. Which arrives in the form of a new neighbor named Alyssa, who introduces a ball game called Russia . . . and an unwelcome level of BFF rivalry.

Suddenly nothing stands unchallenged—not Julia's friendships, her crush, or her independence. But while Julia realizes that she cannot control all the changes in her life, she hangs onto the hope that everything will go in her favor if she can just win one magnificent showdown.

Acclaimed author Tara Altebrando's middle-grade debut features a voice that is true to the adolescent experience, where everything is felt acutely in a whirlwind of all-or-nothing emotion.

about Tara Altebrando

  • Tara Altebrando is the author of several novels, including The Battle of Darcy Lane, The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life and Dreamland Social Club (a Kirkus Reviews Best Book for Teens of 2011). She is also the co-author of Roomies with Sara Zarr. Tara is a Harvard grad living in Astoria, New York, with her husband and two daughters.


“Altebrando brings rich, realistic depth to all of her characters... It's a smart, sensitive portrait of an age when change is in the air, for better or worse.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Altebrando's clear, intelligent writing captures the sweet details that comprise Julia's everyday life… charming and authentic”.
—School Library Journal

"This quietly empowering story... is a refreshingly honest take on bullying. Julia is a flawed but earnest girl, and she learns how deal with mean girls at her own pace and with cheer-worthy dignity. Readers searching for something similar to Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume should look no further."

“This book would be a safe read for girls on the verge of adolescence or struggling with friendships, and would be a good addition to an elementary library or for young middle school readers.”

“Sweet humor, deftly written characters, and a realistic plot make this a great story that is perfect for an upper grade read-aloud.”
—Children's Literature

other editions

  • Hardcover | ISBN 9780762449484
    Pub date: 04/22/2014 | Price: 17.50 Canada/$14.95
    208 Pages
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Adolescence
    JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship

  • eBook | ISBN 9780762451999
    Pub date: 04/22/2014 | Price: 12.99 Canada/$9.99
    208 Pages
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Adolescence
    JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Friendship
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