For some reason, the internet connections decided not to work this weekend. Perhaps that was a blessing as it meant I had more time to read. I read an ARC for FIREGIRL by Tony Abbott, a book due out this summer from Little Brown. It is a slim novel that I hope finds its reader base. Tom is in 7th grade. He has a crush on the cute girl in class, finds his best friend sometimes irritating, and wants to keep a low profile. Pretty typical 7th grader until Jessica comes to his school while she is receiving treatment for severe burns at a local hospital. It is hard not to stare and even to be a bit upset about the severity of Jessica's burns. Tom tries hard to be circumspect, something his best friend makes no attempt to do. Eventually, Tom and Jessica develop a friendship of sorts, and Tom learns to stand up for himself and his convictions. I think what I liked most about this book was how slowly and tentatively Tom develops feelings for Jessica. His hesitancy, his reactions to the burns, his reluctance to stand up in front of his peers rings so true and makes this novel rise above a simple lesson learned kind of story. It is suggested for ages 8-12 and just might miss an audience of middle school kids who could learn something about empathy from Tom and Jessica's story. I doubt the 8-10 year olds will see the quiet way Tom develops his sense of who he is and how he must act.