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Author: Kelly, Erin Entrada
Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 187756
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 70451
Newbery Medal, 2018
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/16)
School Library Journal (+) (01/01/17)
Booklist (+) (12/15/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/17)
The Hornbook (00/03/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2016 *Starred Review* Four middle-schoolers’ fates intertwine one summer in Kelly’s (The Land of Forgotten Girls, 2016) touching tale of friendship. Scrawny, taciturn Virgil Salinas can generally be found caring for his guinea pig and avoiding neighborhood bully Chet Bullens. The only people he feels comfortable around are his lola (his Filipino grandmother) and his Japanese American friend Kaori, who fancies herself a psychic. Kaori’s quirky self-confidence is a foil to Virgil’s insecurities, and when he comes to her for help befriending a girl in his class, Valencia Somerset, she can’t wait to consult her star chart. For her own part, Valencia struggles with nightmares after being rejected by her best friend, and the fact that she’s deaf hasn’t made finding new friends easy. When she spots Kaori’s “business card” on a notice board, she makes an appointment to discuss her troubling dreams. That very day, Virgil goes missing, and Valencia joins Kaori’s search for the boy. Chapters alternate between the four kids’ perspectives, infusing the story with their unique interests, backgrounds, beliefs, and doubts. Lola’s hilariously grim Filipino folk stories weave in and out of Virgil’s mind, ultimately giving him the courage to stand up for himself; and rather than holding her back, Valencia’s deafness heightens her perceptiveness. Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 3–7—The universe comes together unexpectedly when a unique set of circumstances cause four tweens to cross paths. Central to the story is Virgil, an 11-year-old Filipino American whose grandmother, Lola, helps him to come out of his shell and face the world. When Virgil and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, end up trapped in a well in the woods at the hands of a bully, Chet, it is up to the stars to align before it's too late. Coming together like spokes on a wheel, everyone converges in the woods—Valencia, a Deaf girl on whom Virgil has a crush; Kaori, an adolescent fortune-teller and free spirit; Kaori's sister, Gen, her jump-roping apprentice; a feral dog Valencia has befriended; and a snake, which is the only thing Chet fears. Unlikely friendships are formed and heroism abounds as the group of young people try to find their way in the world. Plucky protagonists and a deftly woven story will appeal to anyone who has ever felt a bit lost in the universe. VERDICT Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.