Heartbreaking but also filled with wit and hope, The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.



In following the adaptation of sharks to a shifting ecology, The Line Tender speaks to our own human capacity to adapt to loss—and Lucy’s losses are profound. This is a novel that stirs our deepest hope that we can survive profound change, that we can even move into new channels that will support us and nourish us and point us toward what we had never anticipated. This is a celebration of our ability to survive.
— Gary Schmidt, Newbery and Printz Honoree and National Book Award Finalist
Lucy’s mother once swam with sharks. Now Lucy’s own healing is profoundly tied to these most feared creatures of the deep. Her journey of recovery, conveyed by Kate Allen in this lovely debut novel, is as captivating as the beauty and wonder of the natural world Lucy discovers over one eventful summer. This richly textured story calls us to our most pressing business on earth: to understand and respect the stunningly complex creatures around us before they disappear forever.
— Margi Preus, Author of Heart of a Samurai, a Newbery Honor book

Holy fish, this is a graceful, honest, special book. The Line Tender is a story of resilience. It’s about how unbelievably strong and resourceful kids can be. About the real magic in the world—the magic of science, the magic of survival, and the magic of love.
— Laurel Snyder, Author of Orphan Island
⭑ Rich, complex, and confidently voiced.
— Kirkus Reviews, starred
⭑ The themes of coming-of-age, death and loss, family, friends, and sharks are timeless. These motifs are blended with science in a special way that makes the reader want the book to never end.
— School Library Connection, starred
⭑ There’s no art or science to navigating loss, but Allen blends both into a hopeful path forward.
— Booklist, starred
⭑ Allen tackles the complexities of grief with subtly wry humor and insight.
— Publishers Weekly, starred
⭑ Allen writes with tenderness and confidence.
— The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred
⭑ Numerous middle grade books deal with grief, but few do it so beautifully―and hopefully―as The Line Tender.
— BookPage, starred
⭑ Kate Allen has created a landscape that, in spite of being filled with big, heartbreaking themes of loss, is understated and exquisitely, beautifully real.
— Shelf Awareness, starred