|Way to stay in Destiny|
Author: Scattergood, Augusta
Sixth-grader Theo leaves everything behind to live with his Uncle Chester, a Vietnam War veteran and loner, in Destiny, Florida, but he is drawn to play the piano in Miss Sister's dance school and soon makes friends with the feisty Anabel, a baseball fanatic who invites Theo to help solve a mystery.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 172683
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 65515
Kirkus Reviews (-) (11/15/14)
School Library Journal (01/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 4–6—When 12-year-old Theo's grandparents become too elderly and ill to care for him, his surly uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet, reluctantly takes him from the family home in the hills of Kentucky to the small town of Destiny, FL. They end up residing at the Rest Easy Rooming House & Dance Academy, which is owned and operated by the lovely Miss Sister Grandersole, a former Rockette. Theo (whose full name is Thelonius Monk Thomas, after the jazz musician) finds in Miss Sister a friend and advocate, who also encourages his musical prodigy on the piano even though his uncle forbids it. Set in the 1970s, the town of Destiny is awash in steamy southern atmosphere and baseball history—Hank Aaron and others are purported to have stayed and practiced there. The cast of lively characters, including spunky Anabel who befriends Theo, come to life under author Scattergood's talented hand. A heartwarming story of friendship, family, and finding one's place in the world despite hardship and heartache.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 Moving to Destiny, Florida isn’t what Theo (short for Thelonious Monk Thomas) had planned, but when his caretaker grandparents move into a nursing home and he’s taken into his bachelor uncle’s keeping, that’s where the two of them go. Soon, though, he finds he likes Destiny: he makes a friend of Anabel, who’s in his sixth-grade class; he’s excited by the town’s baseball history and the hints that Hank Aaron, now in 1974 beating Babe Ruth’s record, may have spent time there; he’s thrilled that Miss Sister’s hospitable boarding house includes a piano, which the music-loving boy is free to play. But will Theo’s bitter uncle Raymond agree to stay in Destiny, and will he forgive Theo for playing the piano after Raymond forbade him? Theo has an engaging voice, and his enthusiasm for baseball, music, and Destiny makes him an appealing protagonist; the book atmospherically sets the Floridian scene through Theo’s eyes as he gets the hang of his new hometown. The book has too many plot points, however, so none of them manage to truly compel, and Theo’s sad backstory never goes deep enough to draw emotional response. Additionally, characters tip into cliché, especially Uncle Raymond, whose revelation of past hurts never really redeems his meanness, and the relentlessly sunny Miss Sister. This may nonetheless be an easygoing read for kids who like a little baseball and a little waywardness to season their period stories. DS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.