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Author: Holczer, Tracy
In 1971, twelve-year-old Lucy Rossi's dad returns from Vietnam after losing part of his arm, and her whole family must learn to adjust to a new dynamic, but Lucy's friend Milo unknowingly helps her navigate through this difficult time of fear and uncertainty to realize she is much tougher than she thought.
Kirkus Reviews (04/15/18)
School Library Journal (06/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/18)
The Hornbook (00/07/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2018 Twelve-year-old Lucy’s surgeon father is coming home from Vietnam—minus his arm. Steady, solemn Lucy has held things together in the year he’s been gone by studying the rocks he’s sent her, trying to fit in with his boisterous Italian family, and being a team with her patrician mother. But the move to California has left her friendless until she meets Milo, whose father is still in Vietnam. When they find military artifacts, including photos and a Purple Heart, buried nearby, the duo decide to locate the rightful owner. Lucy’s adjustments are thoughtfully examined, and her evolving efforts to stabilize her family in general, and her father in particular, are well crafted. The backdrop of Vietnam fits more easily at some times than others, but its long reach is explained and acknowledged. There’s a lot of sadness and uncertainty that blankets Lucy’s story, but Holczer does a fine job of piercing the weight with bits of family levity, and with the ethereal beauty of the dragonflies—Milo’s obsession—that flit in and out of the story. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2018 Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Lucy should be having the best summer of her life—her beloved father has just returned from Vietnam, and she is looking forward to spending time with him. But her father is struggling— both with the loss of his arm and what that loss means for his career as a surgeon. Lucy is an autodidact and a fixer, so she goes into research overdrive and wants to spend her summer helping her father recalibrate—but her father needs space and sends Lucy to stay with her extended family instead. There, Lucy embarks on a mission with a new neighbor to return a Purple Heart to a mysterious Vietnam veteran. The novel introduces a nuanced view of the Vietnam War to readers via conversations Lucy has with her peacenik cousin, veterans at the VFW, and her grandfather. Lucy's profound anxiety over her father's mental and physical state is treated gently by Holczer, as Lucy works towards healing and opening herself up to help and love. This is a quiet, tender work of historical fiction about grief, love, and learning to let go. VERDICT A worthy addition to any middle grade collection, especially for readers who loved Jennifer Holm's Penny from Heaven.—Susannah Goldstein, Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice, NY - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.