I’m so torn about this book.
The characters were wonderful, glorious even, but after reading a long line of crappy YRCA titles (this batch seems especially frustrating) I couldn’t handle one more adventure without parents.
It has been my opinion for awhile that in order to have an adventure in a book parents must be gone.
Dead gone; Left gone; Away gone; Or just inattentive gone.
It doesn’t really matter which, as long as the parents are decidedly are not around.
Perhaps the closer I get to being “parent age” as opposed to “child age” the more I get frustrated about this, like my adventures might be over or my future kids can only have adventures if I’m not there.
All that being said, I did enjoy this book.
Willow Chase is amazing. She is twelve years old, insanely clever, meticulous, and deeply thoughtful. Willow is a keen observer of people and an outsider, because she doesn’t always understand what she is observing.
Willow’s life is altered forever when her adoptive and loving parents are killed suddenly in a traffic collision. Willow, a perpetual outsider and moderate obsessive really has no one, no one except her school behavioural counselor Dell Duke, her new acquaintances the Nguyen’s older Mai, Mai’s brother Quang-ha, and mother Patty.
Patty and Mai are very appealing characters, loving, affectionate, and a little rough, they accept Willow openly, particularly when the little girl becomes fluent in Vietnamese in a matter of weeks. Dell and Quang-ha on the other hand are not quite as appealing, in fact they aren’t really appealing at all, but somehow Willow touches them all.
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Puffin Books, September 2014 400 pages ISBN: 9780142422861 Suggested Reading Level: Grade 5+