From Clementine author Sara Pennypacker, this is a poignant middle-grade novel about two foster children who must find a way to work together in order to survive.
Eleven-year-old Stella misses her (unreliable) mom, but she loves it at great-aunt Louise’s house. Louise lives on Cape Cod, where Stella hopes her mom will someday come and settle down. The only problem? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. The two girls live together but there’s no way they’ll ever be friends.
Then Louise suddenly passes away one morning—and Stella and Angel decide not to tell anyone. Now they have to depend on each other for survival. Now they are forced to trust each other with the biggest secret ever.
With great empathy and humor, Sara Pennypacker tells the story of two very different girls who unexpectedly become each other’s true family.
Two dissimilar girls forge a genuine friendship under strenuous circumstances in Pennypacker's memorable, tense novel. The story unfolds in the fresh, credible voice of 11-year-old Stella, who's been taken from her unstable single mother and sent to live with her great-aunt Louise, also caregiver to an orphaned foster child named Angel. The girls barely speak to each other until Louise unexpectedly dies and, fearing they'll be placed in another foster home, they bury her body in the garden and try to hide that she has died. Throughout, Pennypacker (the Clementine series) skillfully meshes the poignant and the comedic. Identifying with Louise's blueberry bushes ("I knew how it felt when the one person tending you disappeared"), Stella vows to save them from lethal gypsy moths. Simul-taneously becoming self-sufficient and dependent on one another, Stella and Angel bond as they take over Louise's housecleaning job and try to stave off starvation. Beautifully evoked, the novel's Cape Cod setting plays a focal role in this richly layered tale of loss, resiliency, and belonging. Ages 8 12.
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