Adults so often think the world belongs to them. They are the do-ers and the deciders. What does that limited perspective look like from a kid's point of view? Two recent books in very different formats ask the question, 'what does it look like when the adults around you - the ones you rely on for stability and guidance - lose it?'
In Casebook, Miles is increasingly alarmed by his mother's erratic behavior after she and his father break up. Rather than just leaving the adults to do what it is adults do, he launches a surveillance campaign. He and his best friend Hector go from eavesdropping, to monitoring email, to setting up an elaborate phone tapping system, all so Miles can determine what his mom is thinking, how the new man in her life, Eli, will affect him and his twin sisters, and where Eli goes when he is not with them. As Miles and Hector begin to grow more suspicious of Eli's motives they pool their money to hire a private investigator - one of the sole adults who treats their concerns seriously.
In the graphic novel This One Summer, Rose and Windy are the best of summer cottage friends. This year, Rose has a crush on the clerk at the town's corner store, so the two girls create a ritual of visiting frequently for gummy bears and horror movies, all the while surreptitiously observing the dramas and relationships of the town's teenagers. All is not well at Rose's cabin either; her mother seems depressed and removed from the excitement of life at the cottage while Rose's dad tries his best to enjoy and encourage Rose's sense of wonder. As Rose and Windy move around the edges of an incomprehensible adult world, they cling to the games and activities that remind them of a world unsullied by adult complications. Dreamy line drawings evoke the joy and enthusiasm of childhood and the mystery of the encroaching adult world.
If you enjoy stories set in that precarious limbo between childhood and adulthood, these might be just what you're looking for.