There are lots of things that amaze me about today's book, but I'm going to focus on the beginning. Consider this opening paragraph:
"I squinted my eyes against the bright noonday sun. I loved my island with our little cottage and the old dock, with old-growth pine trees, the white windswept beaches, and sparkling ocean. I could probably tell you a lot more stuff about my life. For starters, my name is Jeff, I'm twelve, I have brown eyes, a suntan, and dark brown hair. Today I wanted to have some fun and had just spied some fleeing baitfish in the bay. A grouper would taste good, or perhaps a sea trout or perch."
Like a pro, this young author paints a scene, introduces a character, and sets a tone -- in his opening paragraph! Can you tell that the author (and his character) know a lot about the wilderness and spend a lot of time outdoors? Those traits are integral to the story. How awesome that the reader knows that on page 1?!
It's the details -- carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed -- that make a character and his world come to life, and this author does both beautifully.