NOW You say YES – Bill Harley, Peachtree, 2021. 9781682632475
Genre: Realistic Fiction
What did you like about the book? 15-year-old Mari lived in many, many foster homes by the time she was 5. She is a very difficult obstinate child, breaking things, fighting, being disagreeable. This continued even when she entered into foster care with Stef and Kevin – but they adopted her anyway. When she was 9, they had their own biological child, Conor, whom she adored until his autistic tendencies surfaced at the age of 2. Kevin can’t handle it so he leaves. The three are a family unit. Mari loves Conor and understands him as frustrating as he can be. Then Stef dies. Mari is 15+ and Conor, 9. Mari does not want to go back into foster care or be separated from Conor whom few people understand. So she takes her Mom’s car (she has driven some with Stef’s guidance), a little bit of money and heads to Lynn, Mass. with Conor where their grandmother (whom they have not seen in three years, from whom their mother was estranged and whom Mari shouted “I hate you”) lives. Conor is obsessed with stars and planets, anything astrological. A solar eclipse is coming that can be viewed from a small town in Missouri (they live in LA) and Conor demands they go to see it – the only way that Mari can get him to go is promising to go there. Thus begins the most amazing road trip that includes picking up the wrong kind of hitchhiker, running out of money and Conor dropping the car keys down a portable toilet…
This is a story that can scarcely be put down. Mari is the most formidable of heroines. I loved it.
Race is not addressed so we can assume all characters are white…
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Those who liked 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin might enjoy another book about the desperate need to get to a destination that is fraught with nearly insurmountable difficulties.
Who should buy this book? Public, Middle school and lower high school (grades 9-10) libraries
Where would you shelve it? Middle School – YA Fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Editor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: August 23, 2021