For: Middle grades and YA
Front Street/Boyds Mills Press
First-rate first-person storytelling by the protagonist, 11-year-old Zoe Royster, made me want to read without stopping. Wonderful characters, clever plot, subtle twists and turns, and lots of love create a one-of-a-kind tale. Every so often we watch the evolving story through the eyes of a feral cat that Zoe is slowly teaching to trust her. This story is loaded and lovely.
Zoe has practically raised herself. Her unwed mother, in and out of mental hospitals, has dragged her from one boyfriend's digs to another. Her life has been raw and pretty empty of love. She knows how to survive. She is really, really bright and loves to write. She is writing her memoir. When her mother commits suicide, Zoe is sent to live with the heart-surgeon-now-famous-sculptor uncle. She is instantly accepted by his collection of odd friends, and together they create a family. She slowly learns to trust, as does the cat in our parallel story.
This is one beautifully put-together story. I highly recommend it to all, and can't wait for one of my students to try it. Wonderful.