From the Publisher
"Many teen readers will identify with Wren and Darra and how events that happened to us when we were younger help shape the person we become." —VOYA
"Beginning with a horrific story of an accidental kidnapping, this poetic novel is impossible to put down....A masterpiece!" Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink Children's Bookstore
“Like Frost’s Printz Honor Book, Keesha’s House (2003), this novel in verse stands out through its deliberate use of form to illuminate emotions and cleverly hide secrets in the text.” —Booklist
Children's Literature - Dawna Lisa Buchanan
In free verse, this novel tells of two young girls and how their lives collide. Wren Abbot was eight, "...a happy little girl wearing a pink dress, sitting in our gold minivan, dancing with my doll, Karmara" (page 3). Her mother runs into a convenience store for a moment, leaving the keys in the ignition. Wren hears a gun shot. Then a strange man jumps into the car and drives away, unaware that Wren is crouching, hidden, in the back. He drives to a house and leaves the car in the garage. Wren lives in fear for days, hiding and trying to figure out how to escape. The girl who lives in the house, Darra, realizes that the girl on the news is hiding in their garage, and leaves small gifts of food for her. Wren finally escapes, and Darra's father is arrested. Years later, the girls meet at summer camp, and uneasily come to terms with their secret, past connection. Frost lets each girl speak of the experience in her own voice, alternating chapters so that readers have a chance to appreciate the complexity of the situation for both characters. Readers are tempted to despise the hapless father, until the author tells them to read the last word in the longest lines "spoken" by Darra. Then we learn what happened to her father and how he came to be so unhappy. Frost doesn't pull punches: once, the man slaps his wife, violence unimaginable to Wren, results. Finally the girls become close friends, and we are left wondering if Darra and her mother will choose to see the father again when he is released from jail. Reviewer: Dawna Lisa Buchanan
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—An eight-year-old waits in the family's minivan while her mother goes into a convenience store. When she hears a gunshot, she scrambles to hide under a blanket in the back, and then someone rushes into the van and drives away without knowing she's there. This novel in verse is told in two first-person voices. Wren is the girl in the van, and Darra (also age eight) is the daughter of the man who robs the store and inadvertently kidnaps Wren. He drives home, and she's trapped in their garage for several days before she escapes. Darra is aware of her presence and tries to come up with a plan that won't implicate her father, but Wren is already gone. The book then jumps ahead six years, to the summer camp in Michigan where the two girls meet. This original blend of crime tale, psychological study, and friendship story is a page-turner that kids will love. There are a few plausibility issues, but there are many more strengths. Wren's captivity in the garage is truly suspenseful, and the various interactions of the kids at the sleepover camp are a study in shifting alliances. The book also touches on some deeper issues, like how you can love a parent who is sometimes abusive, and how sensitive kids can blame themselves for things that aren't really their fault. Smoothly written, this novel carries a message of healing and hope.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
From the award-winning Frost comes a wildly imaginative, thought-provoking novel in verse that centers on the unlikely friendship that arises between two teenage girls as a result of an accidental kidnapping. Darra Monson's father, an abusive, unemployed mechanic, steals a minivan, not knowing that 8-year-old Wren Abbott, daughter of the local school superintendent, lies hidden in the back. Told entirely from her perspective, Wren's unwitting capture and eventual escape comprise the first third of thestory before the narration switches to Darra, who relates how her father is caught and imprisoned, all the while blaming Wren for his arrest. Though from opposite sides of the tracks, Darra and Wren's paths cross again six years later at summer camp, where the 14-year-olds see each other for the first time. Slowly the two begin to unpack that uninvited trauma. After breaking the ice and overcoming Wren's nearly drowning Darra, the two begin to talk, and Frost's lyric narrative resolves movingly by alternating between the two protagonists. Frost's tale exhibits her trademark character development that probes the complexities of intimate relationships. Here Wren's touching statement, "I was a happy little girl / wearing a pink dress," eventually leads to Darra's private admission to Wren: "None of it was our fault." Both tender and insightful, this well-crafted, fast-paced tale should have wide teen appeal. (notes on form)(Poetry. 10-16)
Kids Ink Children's Bookstore Shirley Mullin
Beginning with a horrific story of an accidental kidnapping, this poetic novel is impossible to put down. . . . A masterpiece!
Like Frost's Printz Honor Book, Keesha's House, this novel in verse stands out through its deliberate use of form to illuminate emotions and cleverly hide secrets in the text.