|Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel
Author: Holt, Kimberly Willis
After the sudden death of her parents, Stevie, thirteen, is sent to live at a rundown motel, where she charms everyone except her estranged grandfather.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 187733
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 70399
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/16)
School Library Journal (01/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/17)
The Hornbook (00/03/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 4–6—With well-established skill and insight, Holt introduces middle grade readers to another appealing adolescent, 13-year-old Stevie Grace. Stevie's uncomplicated, insulated life with her loving, earthy, retro parents is ripped apart when a drunk driver careens into her mother and father's flower and fruit stand, killing them both. Suddenly, Stevie is on a bus headed toward her maternal grandfather, Winston, and about to discover a family history she never knew existed. A motley cast of characters await her at her grandfather's establishment, the dilapidated Texas Sunrise Motel. As Stevie struggles to understand her grandfather's emotional indifference and high expectations, she uncovers her mother's past through local townspeople: aging, narcoleptic Mrs. Crump, once her mother's teacher; Arlo and son Roy, who maintain the motel; Violet, a fashionista who loves movie marathons; and Horace and Ida, permanent motel residents who each have disabilities. When a letter arrives from the family of Stevie's father, Stevie visits Louisiana and a houseful of chatty, affectionate relatives who share memories of her father and invite her to stay. But Stevie is drawn back to the motel, where a new garden and her welcoming grandfather await her. Stevie's journey is deftly narrated with candor, angst, and compassion. Character portraits are diverse and well drawn. Stevie's small town life, from Taos, NM, to Little Esther, TX, is rich in family secrets, quiet discoveries, and evolving relationships. Universal themes of grief, family, love, and loyalty are conveyed through the understated prose. VERDICT Stevie's realizations and emotional growth are orderly, often predictable, but her fresh voice, keen observations, and youthful resilience resonate. A solid addition for most middle grade collections.—Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2017 Holt (Dear Hank Williams, 2015) once again returns to the South to tell a tender, character-driven story, this time of a girl discovering her roots. When a tragic accident claims 13-year-old Stevie Grace’s parents, she finds herself on a bus to her new home: the Texas Sunrise Motel, owned by a grandfather she didn’t know she had. An unusual cast of individuals awaits her, from Violet, a motel employee obsessed with classic Hollywood movies, to Mrs. Crump, Stevie’s narcoleptic teacher, to the wheelchair-bound couple who call the Texas Sunrise home—not to mention her prickly, aloof grandfather. As Stevie gets to know the town’s residents, she also uncovers stories about her parents that shine a new light on who they were and effectively expand Stevie’s notion of family. Stevie is a bit of an Anne Shirley in the way she shakes up life at the Texas Sunset, and through her Holt offers a positive portrayal of finding one’s feet after experiencing loss. This gently told narrative will appeal to readers of heartfelt, realistic fiction. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.