“A cozy and enjoyable read.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The likable cast and relatable premise will resonate with readers grappling with the uncertainty of change.” —Booklist
A girl with a passion for science and a boy who dreams of writing fantasy novels must figure out how to get along now that their parents are dating in this lively, endearing novel.
Sutton is having robot problems. Her mini-bot is supposed to be able to get through a maze in under a minute, but she must have gotten something wrong in the coding. Which is frustrating for a science-minded girl like Sutton—almost as frustrating as the fact that her mother probably won’t be home in time for Sutton’s tenth birthday.
Luis spends his days writing thrilling stories about brave kids, but there’s only so much inspiration you can find when you’re stuck inside all day. He’s allergic to bees, afraid of dogs, and has an overprotective mom to boot. So Luis can only dream of daring adventures in the wild.
Sutton and Luis couldn’t be more different from each other. Except now that their parents are dating, these two have to find some common ground. Will they be able to navigate their way down a path they never planned on exploring?
Ambitious nine-year-old coder Sutton, who is white, prefers life to be predictable. She worries about being left alone when her mother, who is researching emperor penguins, must miss Sutton's birthday and her father gets serious about the woman he's dating, Elizabeth. Elizabeth's son, 10-year-old biracial (half Latinx, half white) Luis, practices "Mad-Eye Moody levels of constant vigilance" due to food allergies and longs for an adventure outside the fantasy story he's writing. Luis is glad that his mom is dating his dad died when Luis was young but when the kids first meet, they seem to have little in common. Separated from their parents on a hike, the Seattle-area twosome must chart a new course, en route learning things about themselves and each other. In alternating first-person narratives, McCullough (Blood Water Paint) realistically portrays Sutton's need for order alongside the frustration that both feel when things go awry. Sweet communal details, such as food prepared by Sutton's ethnically diverse neighbors and the gluten-free French toast that Elizabeth makes, bring this warm tale to life. Ages 8 up.