Perfect for fans of Bridge to Terabithia and Walk Two Moons, this debut middle grade novel is the story of two girls and the unforgettable summer in which they learn about true friendship and loss.
Annie has been promised a summer of freedom in the country. Freedom from a difficult school year, freedom from her fake “friends” back in the city, and, most of all, freedom from her mom’s life-governing spreadsheets and rigid schedules.
When Annie meets California, who is visiting her grandfather’s farm, it seems she has found the perfect partner for the summer she’s always craved. Especially when California offers Annie a real-life adventure: if she and Annie can find the ponies her mom rode as a girl, surely it will remind her mom how wonderful the farm is—and fix what’s broken between her mom and her grandfather.
But Annie’s summer of freedom is sprinkled with secrets, and everything she has learned about bravery and love will be put to the test when the truth behind the ultimate secret changes her life forever.
About the Author
Nanci Turner Steveson grew up in Connecticut, England, and Texas, always with a book in one hand, the reins of a pony in the other. She wrote her first “novel” at the age of nine about a wild horse named Liberty. Nanci works with the Off Square Theatre Company as a stage manager and youth-performer shepherd. She is a reading fairy to book-hungry children and a riding instructor. The mother of two grown sons, Nanci lives in a meadow at the foot of the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with her Arabian horse and a 100-pound rescue dog named Story. She is the founder of the Literacy for Hope project, dedicated to getting books into the hands of the homeless. Visit her online at www.nanciturnersteveson.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. What a sweet book! Described as WALK TWO MOONS meets BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, this book lives up to that. Annie, who struggles with panic attacks, is offered a summer of freedom at their summer cottage to help her heal. The first day out, she meets their neighbor's granddaughter, California, who represents everything Annie wants to be. The characters are well-done. All of them are living-breathing, struggling-with-their-own-issues, full characters. I especially appreciated the portrayal of Annie's parents, who certainly aren't perfect parents, but who did their best despite their own struggles. I felt like I was right there with Annie, enjoying a summer of exploring the farm, having crazy adventures, and building new friendships. What I loved most of all, was watching Annie grow and heal, as she discovered she was stronger and braver than she believed. And even more, realizing the importance and healing power of forgetting oneself and thinking more of others. This book was a joy to read!
This is the heartfelt story of Annabel, a girl who has been scheduled within an inch of her life by her well-meaning, spreadsheet-obsessed mother – so much so that she has developed an eating disorder. The family’s therapist convinces Annabel’s parents to give her a summer of freedom in the country, and her mom does her best to overcome her own control issues to let that happen. Annabel soon meets California, the wild granddaughter of a local farmer, and gets drawn into California’s quest to find the ponies her mother rode as a child. California is convinced that finding them will bring together her own mother and grandfather, who have been estranged from one another since long before her birth. Inspired by California, Annabel asserts her independence by christening herself Annie, and soon learns to stand up for herself in her own family. The shifting patterns of family relationships are beautifully chronicled – Annie’s mom adjusting to her daughter’s new confidence, Annie’s dad putting aside his peacekeeping tendencies for the greater good, and Annie herself gaining the courage to be honest with her parents. And the deepening friendship of the two girls grows them both as people, even as the secret behind California’s quest forces them both to face the unfairness of the world. A beautiful coming-of-age story of friendship, family, loss, and hope.
Children's literature is filled with stories of life-altering friendships. Anne and Diana, Charlotte and Wilbur, Jesse and Leslie, etc. Well, you can add to that list Annabel--now "Annie"-- and California. Away from the city and the situations that caused her to suffer crippling panic attacks, Annie spends the summer in the countryside, where she strikes up an unlikely friendship with California, who's living on the run-down farm up the road. California is everything Annie doesn't think she is. Free-spirited and brave. An adventurer at heart. Not held back by an omnipresent, hovering mother. But before she knows it, she's taken under California's wing, helping her try to find the ponies that California's sure will end the estrangement between her mother and her estranged grandfather before it's too late. Steveson's debut is a truly unforgettable story about the enduring power of friendship, and the ways that a person so seemingly unlike you can bring out characteristics you might never have discovered in yourself. Annie and California are friends for the ages, and readers will be deeply moved by this story--I know I sure was. A perfect read for anyone that loved "Bridge to Terabithia" or "Walk Two Moons."