This beautifully written, emotional debut perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt or Ali Benjamin tells the story of a girl, her special needs brother, and the summer they will never forget.
"An engaging, honest book." --Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Newbery Honor-winning author of The War That Saved My Life
"A beautiful story of family, forgiveness, life on an island, and growing up."--Kate Messner, author of Breakout and The Seventh Wish
Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond--Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.
But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn't go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another's shoes.
An Indies Introduce Pick
A Parents Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
Intensely responsible Cat, 11, looks after her seven-year old brother, Chicken, whose unique stressors and focused intensity require patience and attention, particularly since the death of their father. When the family's summer plans unexpectedly fall through, the biracial siblings are sent to stay with their estranged maternal grandparents, Macon and Lily, on an island off the North Carolina coast, while their mother who writes children's books loosely based on her children's lives works in Georgia. Cat's curiosity about the troubled history between her mother and Macon brings her insecurities about her often overwhelming role as Chicken's caretaker to the fore, leading to a summer of difficult conversations and necessary change in family dynamics. Cat's developing relationship with her grandparents, shifting role in Chicken's life, and growth toward a more honest relationship with her mother are deeply moving in their realism, as are Cat's burgeoning self-awareness and self-advocacy. Set against a cushioning backdrop of fishing, beach trips, and ice cream, McDunn's poignant, gratifying debut about friendship and family encourages both empathy and hope. Ages 8 12.)