Reality and fantasy collide in this “beautiful and reflective tale” (Booklist, starred review) for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself.
Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
-Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
-Never having met said grandparents.
-Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)
Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.
With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.
Finley, 11, is sent to spend her summer at Hart House, her estranged grandparents' country estate, while her parents deal with their divorce. Feeling like a stranger among her own family, she finds solace in the woods across the river because she believes them to be the real version of the magical Everwood she writes about. Legrand (The Year of Shadows) weaves portions of Finley's tales seamlessly through the novel, building a foundation of understanding for Finley's feelings of isolation and overwhelming sadness. As Finley allows her cousins into her imaginary world, she begins to trust her family and build friendships, but these new feelings of acceptance do not keep Finley's depression and anxiety at bay. Legrand handles the tough subject of childhood mental health gently and honestly, and through the dual narratives of Finley's real and fantasy lives paints a realistic picture of a girl trying to figure out what's wrong with her. Finley's quest to uncover family secrets reveals not just what kept her father away from his relatives but how a family sticks together through good times and bad. Ages 8 12.
I loved this book more than anything. It's my favorite book EVER and it helped me find myself. I'd be dead without it, I love it so much.