Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Realistic Fiction
What did you like about the book?Stevie (named for singer Stevie Nix) has just lost her parents in a tragic car accident. As her story opens, she is on a bus, leaving her formerly idyllic life, and heading to meet and live with her mom’s father, a man her parents led her to believe had died long ago. The grieving girl arrives at his motel to discover it is a rundown facility populated by eccentric locals while her granddad is aloof and cranky. Stevie is a particularly likeable narrator as she uses the life lessons her parents taught her to discover her grandad’s hidden goodness, connect with the people she meets, and convert her losses into a blooming new life. Gardening terms label the sections (seedling, sow, cultivate, transplant) and match up to Stevie’s stages of adjustment. Stevie’s efforts to understand why her parents kept their families a secret from her (she discovers an aunt, uncle and cousins on her dad’s side, too) adds drama to the tale. Kudos to the publisher for commissioning the gorgeous jacket art by Jackie Denos that will help draw readers and well represents the beautifully written story.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to girls in about 3rd to 7th grade who are fans of realistic books with exemplary main characters and an old-fashioned feel. Readalikes: Heidi
Who should buy this book? Upper elementary school libraries, middle 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: 4/28/17