Told with humor and heart, this is a middle grade story about family, friendship, and hopeplus cats in sweaters!
Living in the small town of East Thumb, Maine, upstairs from her family's diner, twelve-year-old Lizzy Sherman searches for signs to guide her and perhaps guarantee her a bump-free path through life. She pays attention to the clouds in the sky, the ice cubes in her water, the heart-shaped puddle of the juice her friend spilled. If only she can figure out what the signs are trying to tell her, she'll know what to do next.
When Lizzy and her best friend go searching for a stray cat and find a runaway girl instead, they want to help. And when Lizzy notices a tiny four-leaf clover tattooed on the girl's hand, she knows it's a sign. Lizzy hides the girl inside her bedroom closet, convinced the girl will be able to protect Lizzy's family from tragedy. But signs can be tricky, and what the girl has to offer may be more valuable that luck.
|Publisher:||Running Press Book Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Susan Lubner is the author of three picture books and the middle grade novel, The Upside of Ordinary. Her stories have also appeared in Spider and Highlights. Besides reading and writing, Susan loves taking long walks, spending time on the water at Cape Code, the color blue, painting, and eating lots of chocolate. She lives in Massachusetts, but was born and raised in Maine, where her family always had two, three, or sometimes four cats.
What a sweet book! Every year, I have several adorable cat lovers in my class. And now I have the perfect book to recommend to them! I also plan on using several examples of figurative language from the book to help teach my students.
Lizzy brings lots of animals home, and she is actually hanging out with her best friend, Joss, when she sees just one more cat that she feels needs a home, but what they discover in the empty building across from her family's dinner is not just a cat, but a girl, who has run away from home. And of course, she brings her home, eventually, with her. She just doesn't tell her parents. And she never tells her parents. This is a story of Lizzy, who is suffering from the grief of losing her baby sibling en utero, because of her mothering being injured in a car accident, while pregnant, and from that point on, looking for signs to let her know what is coming next. Because, she feels that if she can read the signs around her, she won't be so afraid of what fate has in store for her. It is an interesting take on the run away stories that abound in children's literature. Usually, a parent intervenes, and they make everything work out. But, in this book, Joss and LIzzy have enough sense, and thought as to how to solve the problem by themselves. Very unusual for a modern children's book to go that route. Reminds me of older books, from the Victorian era, where the kids figured everything out without the parent even noticing that something was amiss. The children are well rounded, the story moves along at a good clip, and Lizzy is a very realistic child, as is Charlette, the good luck girl, because she has a four leaf clover drawn on her hand, like a tattoo. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review..
There is so much to love about this story. The themes of friendship, compassion, loss, and philanthropy mixed with well developed characters, cats, and the perfect small town setting make this a great read for kids and adults. Lizzy's search for good luck and her desperate attempt at keeping it when she think she finds it was a sweet, poignant way to show the effects of grief. This debut book by Susan Lubner checked all the boxes for me!
This is the story of 12-year-old Lizzy Sherman, her best friend Joss, and a surprise visitor named Charlotte. Lizzy has had a rough two years. Her family endured a bad car wreck which ended her mother’s previous pregnancy, killing the baby she carried. After that experience, her mother went into a deep depression and the entire family felt so much sadness over the loss. Since then, Lizzy has looked for signs of good luck in hopes that things will get better. Lizzy’s mother and father run a diner located just beneath their apartment, and Lizzy’s mother is pregnant again. So now, more than ever, Lizzy is obsessively looking for good signs in the world around her. She sees signs in the clouds, in spilled drinks, in you-name-it! Both Lizzy and Joss have a special interest in re-homing lost shelter cats. In fact, they are even working on a program through their school to raise money and bring awareness of the need to adopt. However, one morning their love of stray cats leads them into an old, abandoned building where they discover an 11-year-old runaway named Charlotte. Charlotte’s father and mother are in the process of getting a divorce and she can’t bear to be back at home as her father is preparing to leave. Once Lizzy discovers that Charlotte has what appears to be a 4-leaf clover on her hand, she is ready to move Charlotte into her closet and keep her hidden from family until after the baby is born. For luck! “I tried not to think about the last time Mom had gone in an ambulance. The last time I had been in a hospital was the night we had lost the baby. But that night, I had lost something else, too. For months after the accident, Mom didn’t care about anything anymore. Not the diner. Not Dad. Not me. I wanted it to stop. I wanted a sign that things would be all right… a promise that all the awfulness would go away. More than a pink sky or a frozen puddle, more than anything in the world, I had just wanted my mother.” With both good humor and sadness, this story is one of hope, uncertainty, friendship, and coming to terms with devastating loss. Nevertheless, this story also addresses running away from problems, lying to friends, and deceiving your parents. There’s so much up for discussion with this one! My thanks to Netgalley and Running Press Kids for allowing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Be sure to grab a copy and add it to your reading list.