My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: September 2019
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Death, Friendship, Love
It is so clear, to me, why Kate DiCamillo is such a beloved children’s writer. She writes with such thoughtfulness and elegance. She gives voice to young girls who don’t always realize that they have one and that it most certainly deserves to be heard. She makes you want to listen to children more often and actually consider their words carefully.
Kids have dreams, too. They have aspirations. They have goals and the strength to accomplish them. They have feelings, doubts, beliefs. And, yes, they make mistakes, just like we all do. Beverly may be making one as we speak. She is running away from her home. Her mom, who never listens to her and simply does not appear to care about anyone but her own self. Her friends, Raymie and Louisiana, but then what does it matter since Louisiana left her first. Her dog, who died and she can’t manage to get over the tragedy.
She ends up in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people. Some of those people become her friends, others not so much. She is welcomed by some, dismissed by others. It isn’t easy to be fourteen and lost in this world. Beverly doesn’t know where she belongs. She doesn’t know how to cope with the death of her pet and the negligence of her mom. She certainly doesn’t know how she feels about this new boy she met. Who is Beverly? A runaway? A lost soul? Both?
I read this short novel in one sitting. The writing is not very complex, so it can easily be read by middle schoolers as well as young adults, and it has beautiful depth. Not entirely realistic, perhaps, but Beverly’s and everyone else’s voices sure do sound real. Even though it is part of a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone as well. So please do if you get the chance to.
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