Cover image for The battle of Darcy Lane
The battle of Darcy Lane
Altebrando, Tara, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Philadelphia PA : RP Kids, [2014]

Physical Description:
203 pages ; 22 cm
It's summertime, and everyone on Darcy Lane seems to be holding their breath waiting for the cicadas to emerge, but what twelve-year-old Julia Richards 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.
General Note:
Includes instructions for playing the ball game Russia.
Reading Level:
770 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.5 5.0 171073.
Format :


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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.

Author Notes

Tara Altebrando graduated from Harvard University. She has written several books including Dreamland Social Club, The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, The Pursuit of Happiness, What Happens Here, The Battle of Darcy Lane, and My Life in Dioramas. She is also the co-author of Roomies with Sara Zarr.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Twelve-year-old Julia is looking forward to spending her summer playing with her best friend, Taylor, and nursing a crush on her neighbor Peter. But when a new girl, Alyssa, moves in across the street, suddenly Taylor doesn't want to be friends anymore. For a while, Julia tries to fit in with Alyssa and Taylor, even learning their complicated handball game, but Alyssa and Taylor get meaner and meaner, calling Julia names, teasing her for being nervous about grown-up TV shows, and calling her house so often her mother unplugs the phone. Luckily, Julia's stalwart and loving parents, along with a handful of true friends, help her develop the confidence to be happy with herself. This quietly empowering story from the author of The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life (2013) is a refreshingly honest take on bullying. Julia is a flawed but earnest girl, and she learns how to deal with mean girls at her own pace and with cheer-worthy dignity. Readers searching for something similar to the books of Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume should look no further.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Altebrando (The Best Night of Your [Pathetic] Life) makes a confident detour into middle-grade with this pensive summer-of-change story. Her 12-year-old old heroine, Julia, isn't quite so confident: a new girl, Alyssa, has moved onto Darcy Lane, and her arrival drives an immediate wedge between Julia and best friend Taylor. Sniping comments are traded, feelings are hurt, pranks are deployed, and crushes on boys are wielded as weapons, all building to a faceoff between Julia and Alyssa in a competitive ball-bouncing game called Russia (playing instructions are included). Altebrando brings rich, realistic depth to all of her characters, including Julia's very-in-love parents-their interactions with Julia are easily as important to the story as Julia's strained friendships. The author provides just enough glimpses into Taylor and Alyssa's home lives to generate a bit of empathy for them (even when they're being truly cruel to Julia), without letting them off the hook-and Julia isn't blameless either. It's a smart, sensitive portrait of an age when change is in the air, for better or worse. Ages 8-12. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-7-Several battles are being waged on Darcy Lane this summer, all of which involve Julia Richards, a supersmart 12-year-old with a passion for reading and the clarinet. She persistently challenges her kind, but protective, parents for a bra, a cell phone, and a less babyish bedroom. She fiercely competes with new-girl-on-the-block Alyssa for the attention of maybe-best-friend Taylor. And she struggles mightily to make sense of who she is and who she might be. (On considering the unicorns and dolls that adorn her room: "I wanted to get rid of everything. The problem was this: I had nothing to put in its place.") Altebrando's clear, intelligent writing captures the sweet details that comprise Julia's everyday life: a fresh coat of paint for her bedroom, a brilliant band-camp concert, a slice of birthday cake shared compatibly with the boy next door. While the book's setting is never explicated, references to a historic cicada swarm plus talk of the "island," the "city," and the "ferry" likely place the story in 2013 and on Staten Island, the author's hometown. Frequent use of the cicada as a marker for nature and time ("I tried to think ahead, another seventeen years, to imagine what things would be like when the cicadas come back") feels a bit forced and may confuse readers unfamiliar with the phenomenon, but this is a slight misstep in an otherwise charming and authentic first purchase.-Susan Wengler, Saint Dominic Academy, Jersey City, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



"From where we sat, on the swinging bench, with tall glasses of lemonade, there was still no sign of the cicadas, and it was like the whole of Darcy Lane--the whole town, too--was holding its breath." Excerpted from The Battle of Darcy Lane by Tara Altebrando All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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