Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Novel in verse, Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? While taking a census of homeless people in her hometown (Santa Monica) to fulfill a community service requirement for school, Molly notices a red-haired homeless girl only a few years older than her and feels compelled to connect with her. In fact, Molly sets the unlikely goal of reuniting the girl, Red, with her family before Christmas – in ten days. Meanwhile, Molly’s family is falling apart, unable to deal with the disappearance of Molly’s brother with PTSD over a year ago. It’s not all gloom and doom as Molly’s faithful service dog, Pixel, lightens many scenes, and Molly experiences first love when she meets a wonderful boy, Cristo. Sonya Sones has a way of grabbing readers with her first sentence and keeping them engaged until the end, and this captivating story of mutual redemption is no exception.
Anything you didn’t like about it? It was nerve-wracking to think that Molly spent so much time with a mentally unstable young woman while her parents were entirely unaware.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to girls in grades 7 – 10 looking for a realistic novel in verse, especially to reluctant readers and to Sones’ many fans. This could also be a good choice for a book club as the issues it raises around mental illness provide plenty of material to discuss.
Who should buy this book? High school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve in Fiction.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 1/16/17