Author: Frost, Helen
When fourteen-year-olds Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra's father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 144298
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 54345
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/01/11)
School Library Journal (06/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (05/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2011 Though Wren and Darra have never even made eye contact, they share a secret history that changed both of their lives. When they were eight, Wren hid in Darra’s family’s garage for several days after Darra’s father stole a van, unaware that Wren was in the backseat. Darra knew Wren was hiding and did her eight-year-old best to offer silent comfort, then felt betrayed when Wren’s escape drew the police, leading to her father’s arrest. Now the girls find themselves cabinmates at summer camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Seeing Darra brings long-submerged rage and fear back to the surface for Wren, while Darra remains angry at Wren for the havoc she caused, unhappy as Darra’s family may have been. Forced into close proximity, the girls gradually get to know one another again—and for the first time. 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. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2011 The relationship between Wren and Darra begins in highly unusual circumstances: Darra’s father steals a car in which, unbeknownst to him, eight-year-old Wren is hidden, and Darra helps her escape. When the girls are fourteen, they coincidentally cross paths again, this time at a summer camp, and the encounter sets off emotional shock waves for both of them—Darra is angry and sad about the absence of her imprisoned father, while Wren is still haunted by the memory of her accidental kidnapping—and yet they’re drawn together. Frost, author of formally creative verse novels such as Crossing Stones (BCCB 12/09) and Diamond Willow (BCCB 6/08), uses an accessible, seemingly unstructured free verse here, but, as a concluding note explains, the poems in Darra’s voice contain a hidden additional narrative that give her view of her life with her father and of Wren’s kidnapping. While the events are somewhat contrived, the drama is undeniable, and the syncopated sharing of the girls’ viewpoints adds tension and interest as various pieces of their story fall slowly into place. Most readers won’t have experienced anything this extreme, but relationships with age-mates that are shadowed by adult issues are a common experience, so there will be recognition of the emotions that push the girls through blame and curiosity and into independent friendship. The booktalkable subject will draw in a broad swath of readers, and fans of the verse novels of Ellen Hopkins and her ilk may find this useful entry point into more technically advanced poetic narrative. DS - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2011 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 - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.