Twelve year old Ben finally has a place to belong. It's been two years since Tess picked him out of the orphanage and became his foster mother. She takes life as it is and finds magic in every moment. Even when Ben brings home a stringy, filthy animal that might be a dog, she keeps her cool.
Then, tragedy strikes. Ben comes home to find Tess on the floor. Tess is gone leaving Ben with his "Aunt Jeanie" and her boyfriend, Leo. Ben and his dog, Flip, move in and fight to hold onto the goodness in the world.
At school Ben meets Halley, Rainbow Girl- a girl who loves pink sparkling hats, loves to read and loves Ben. But, it turns out Rainbow Girl's life is no easy walk in the park either.
This story is about friendship, trust, collecting all the good moments and good people and never, ever giving up.
Ben is a character you want to sit next to and bring home after school. You don't ever want him to leave and you want to show him trust is real and good people are all around. Halley's spunk and love of life are magical and contagious.
This book has incredible heart and will tug at anyone who has been faced with struggles, betrayal and a wobbling hope that things will get better. Powerful, poignant and deeply felt. Beautiful.
256 pages Ages 10-14 978-0803738164
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
From Penguin Randomhouse:
“This story convinced me all over again that love and imagination are life’s biggest magic.” —Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Award winner When You Reach Me
Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a goodbye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books…until he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library.
Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley—yes, like the comet—a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. Ben begins thinking of her as “Rainbow Girl” because of her crazy-colored clothes and her laugh, pure magic, the kind that makes you smile away the stormiest day.
Rainbow Girl convinces Ben to write a novel with her. But as their story unfolds Ben’s life begins to unravel, and Ben must discover for himself the truth about friendship and the meaning of home.
Paul Griffin’s breathtaking middle-grade debut will warm your heart as much as it breaks it.