A bit of magic, a sprinkling of adventure, and a whole lot of heart collide in All the Impossible Things, Lindsay Lackey's extraordinary middle-grade novel about a young girl navigating the foster care system in search of where she belongs.
"Wise and wondrous, this is truly a novel to cherish.” —Katherine Applegate, New York Times–bestselling author of Wishtree
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Red’s inexplicable power over the wind comes from her mother. Whenever Ruby “Red” Byrd is scared or angry, the wind picks up. And being placed in foster care, moving from family to family, tends to keep her skies stormy. Red knows she has to learn to control it, but can’t figure out how.
This time, the wind blows Red into the home of the Grooves, a quirky couple who run a petting zoo, complete with a dancing donkey and a giant tortoise. With their own curious gifts, Celine and Jackson Groove seem to fit like a puzzle piece into Red’s heart.
But just when Red starts to settle into her new life, a fresh storm rolls in, one she knows all too well: her mother. For so long, Red has longed to have her mom back in her life, and she’s quickly swept up in the vortex of her mother’s chaos. Now Red must discover the possible in the impossible if she wants to overcome her own tornadoes and find the family she needs.
Eleven-year-old Ruby "Red" Byrd is skeptical when her kindly social worker takes her to live with new foster parents in tiny Bramble, Colo. Jackson and Celine Groove, an older interracial couple, immediately open their hearts to Red, though, and she is drawn to their petting zoo of rescue animals, especially their 400-pound tortoise, Tuck. And gregarious Marvin, who is Hawaiian and the son of Red's respite caregivers, determines to befriend her. But she longs for her mother, who has been in prison for three years following an episode with pill addiction that left Red to fend for herself. Then her mother is released early, creating a literal storm for Red, whose roiling emotions can affect the wind. She longs to control this chaotic power, which infuses magic realism into Lackey's charming, bittersweet debut. Included throughout are heartbreaking glimpses of Red's life before her mother's arrest, as well as Red's letters to her mom, and readers will ache for her as she struggles to reconcile her affection for the Grooves with her fierce love for her troubled mother. Lackey's compassionately drawn story ponders hope, grief, and found family, warming the heart while avoiding an overly neat conclusion. Ages 8 12.