Some authors seem to know more about me than I know about myself. I'm reading along in a story and suddenly the main character discovers something or learns something about him or herself and I am struck dumb by the instant awareness that I had that same question down inside of me and I didn't even know it.
Grace is lost. She's twelve years old and she and her mother have moved fourteen times. Mama got pregnant with Grace when she was only seventeen and she and Grace's father hopped a Greyhound bus and fled their town and their families so they could stay together.
Grace's father and grandfather died in a car accident. She's had her mother all to herself since that day and they have moved like nomads from place to place in search of home. Now, it's Grace's turn to search for home alone. Her mother fell and drowned and it's the grandmother who had sent Grace's mother packing twelve years earlier who will take Grace in to her home and into her heart.
But Grace isn't ready for this grandmother who abandoned her mother. Grace holds stories and feelings and history and she doesn't have any reason to trust this woman. She yearns to live with her best friend's family...the Greene family.
Then the cranes start appearing... little folded origami cranes. Grace is startled and slowly begins to have the sense that her mother is talking to her from the other side and is leading her in the direction Grace is meant to follow. A menagerie of characters in grandma's town offer bits and pieces of Grace's family story. Here she begins to claim her true heritage and sense of where she belongs in the world.
With laser like precision Tracy Holczer dissects the feelings and the truths that hold Grace together. She digs deeper and deeper, peeling off Grace's layers and bringing her to an entirely new version of herself and her family. This is a brilliantly crafted journey. Here Grace summons the courage to go on one final treasure hunt with her mother not really knowing what she is looking for but certain that the journey is important and intuitively getting that for her to move on and to come to terms with her life, she needs to take those steps forward and trust that somewhere out there are answers.
This book is perfect for any young reader who looks below the surface of things, who searches for meaning and especially for any child whose life is less than perfect. Jokester/Thrillseeking Party Animals will run in the other direction and that's fine. There is room for all.
Ages 10 and up 978-0399163937 320 pages
Recommended by: Barb, abookandahug.com