Genre: Children/Middle Grade/Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: Identity, Loss, Adoption, Orphan, Family, Friendship, Growing Up
This book was given for free, courtesy by NetGalley
and Candlewick Press.
Young Louisiana is dragged out of bed by her eccentric grandmother. Though it is common for Granny to make rash decisions, there doesn’t seem to be a return date for this particular trip. As Louisiana loses hope in ever returning back to Lister, Florida, she learns something about herself. Now, she must decide her own path. What path will she take?
I was excited to be given the chance to read a Kate DiCamillo book. It’s been so long since I’ve read one of hers, but I do remember enjoying her storytelling.
Louisiana is a young girl who is easy to sympathize with, especially toward the end of the book where the reader is given more of her story. She is funny, brave, a good friend, and the type of person you’d want to spend time with. There were times when you could feel her pain and confusion, and other times when you could feel her longing for a home. Unfortunately, since the focus being on Louisiana, the reader doesn’t get to know anyone else, making the rest of the characters fairly one-dimensional.
Due to being a short children’s/middle grade book, the storyline was simple and easy-to-follow. Right from the beginning, my attention was captured as Louisiana was dragged by her grandmother on a trip, away from everything the young girl is used to and loves. However, toward the middle, I didn’t find myself as captivated. Throughout, the reason for leaving didn’t really make sense to read. Even after the “explanation” was given, it seemed fairly loose and unrealistic. It was also difficult to tell how serious the “explanation” was supposed to be, and for a while, I kept thinking this book was going to turn into a fantasy read any moment. It didn’t, but this plot point was misleading.
There was something else that bothered me. A little girl in trouble and it took a while before anyone realized that she needed help seemed unrealistic. It was probably because Granny’s arc, if you can call it that, just seemed too far-fetched. Also, perhaps since the story is kind of quirky, which I didn’t care for, could be why some didn’t realize how much help Louisiana needed.
To end more positively, I did like the format of the book. It is a story that Louisiana is writing down and sharing. Toward the middle, I forgot that she was writing the story down and read it more like a book. At the end, though, the author wraps the story nicely, letting the reader know who Louisiana is addressing.
Overall, this was a fine read for me, but I felt it lacked in sensibility and character development.
I would recommend this to children who enjoy somewhat quirky stories about a character trying to find a place to call home.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
43 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!