Controlled Burn

Controlled Burn by Erin Soderberg Downing. Twelve-year-old Maia’s family has just endured a horrible ordeal: their home was destroyed in a fire and Amelia, Maia’s sister, was severely burnt. In the aftermath of the fire, Maia is sent to stay with her grandparents in Minnesota for the summer, so that her parents can focus on salvaging their house and on Amelia’s recovery process. But for Maia, the trauma of the fire has added to the things she’s already afraid of, like heights and swimming. Plus, she’s afraid that she was somehow responsible for the whole accident. One thing that helps is spending time with her grandfather, who volunteers for the Forest Service watching for wildfires in an old lookout tower. Another is her friendship with a nine-year-old she meets named Griffin, whose trying to earn all his badges as an Eagle Scout. As Maia copes with feelings of guilt and sadness and confronts her fears head-on, the time she spends with friends, family, and nature begins to help the healing process.

(MIddle-Grade Books)