I absolutely loved this middle to older grade novel about 12-year-old Willow Chance and the challenges she faced when her parents unexpectedly die in a car accident. Willow already has her challenges with being a genius and a social misfit. This story was so beautiful and well-written that I fell in love with Willow right away. I actually read this through in two sittings (400 pages) as it moved so quickly.
Here’s what Booklist has to say about it:
*Starred Review* In a voice that is frank, charming, and delightfully odd, Willow Chance narrates the strange and heartbreaking circumstances that lead her to find an offbeat, patchwork quilt of a family. As an adopted, self-identified “person of color,” precocious genius Willow unabashedly knows that she is different, but her parents love and support her idiosyncrasies, such as wearing her gardening outfit to school, her preoccupation with disease, her anthropological curiosity about her peers, and her obsession with the number seven. That self-assuredness shines through Willow’s narrative and becomes crucial to her survival after the unexpected death of her parents, which makes Willow a prime candidate for life in a group home—an environment that could be disastrous for an unusual child like her. Luckily, she finds new friends who are compelled to protect her: Mai and her family, who live in the garage behind the nail salon they own, and Willow’s slouch of a guidance counselor, Dell. Sloan (I’ll Be There, 2011) has masterfully created a graceful, meaningful tale featuring a cast of charming, well-rounded characters who learn sweet—but never cloying—lessons about resourcefulness, community, and true resilience in the face of loss.
Grades 7-10. –Sarah Hunter —
Me again —
That blurb is an excellent take on this book which I will be recommending to my sixth grader (and her English teacher!).