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|All that's missing|
Author: Sullivan, Sarah
When his grandfather's dementia raises the specter of foster care, Arlo flees to find his only other family member.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 161859
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 18.0 Quiz: 62358
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/13)
School Library Journal (11/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (12/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/15/2013 Eleven-year-old Arlo lives alone with his loving but increasingly confused grandfather, Poppo. Then Poppo has a stroke and social services steps in. One terrible night in a shelter convinces Arlo that his only option is to try to find his only remaining family member—his estranged grandmother, Ida Jones. But after he does manage to reach her, Arlo discovers that a bigger challenge will be bridging the gap left by years of animosity between Idaand Poppo. Arlo struggles to understand the adult world and maintain control of his destiny, but his tools are eavesdropping and reading body language, both so easy to misinterpret. Sullivan’s debut novel beautifully balances the big issues in Arlo’s life with his smaller, more immediate concerns: his dog, an adventurous friend, and the magic of a wooden eagle carved by his father. The characters’ race is often left ambiguous, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. Filled with heart, this will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie (2000) or Eva Ibbotson’s One Dog and His Boy (2012). - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2013 Gr 4–6—For months, orphaned 11-year-old Arlo Jones has been fending for himself while keeping his maternal grandfather's dementia a secret. But when Poppo is sent to the hospital after suffering a stroke, Arlo's future hangs in the balance. Afraid of being placed in foster care, the boy embarks on a furtive journey to track down Ida Jones, the paternal grandmother he's never met. Because of age-old tensions between Poppo and Ida, Arlo feels trepidation at the idea of coming face-to-face with her. Sure enough, Ida is crotchety and delivers several heedless and nasty barbs about her daughter-in-law, Arlo's mother. Perhaps because he has little choice in the matter, Arlo looks beyond his grandmother's initial inappropriateness and gradually realizes that she has his best interests at heart. Despite clichéd secondary characters and a disjointed subplot involving mystery and magic realism, Sullivan artfully captures Arlo's feelings of uncertainty and his fervent wish to create a stable home life for himself. Additionally, the author's handling of Alzheimer's disease and its devastating effects on families is compelling. Recommend to youngsters who appreciate traumatic fiction with positive outcomes, but also steer them to Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming (S & S, 1981), which tackles similar territory far better.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2013 Arlo and his grandfather have been living on their own since the car accident that killed Arlo’s parents, but the sixth-grader finds himself taking care of Poppo more than the other way around as Poppo’s memory gets worse and worse. After a stroke sends Poppo to the hospital, Arlo, wanting to avoid being sent to a shelter, runs away to Virginia to find his other remaining relative, his father’s mother. Though Ida Jones has been estranged from her grandson (his parents’ marriage caused a serious falling out) and there’s a bit of friction between the two, she readily accepts Arlo into her home. Arlo befriends Maywood, the daughter of a local bookstore owner, and adjusts to life in the small town, in spite of the fact that Ida’s slated to sell her home and move to a condo in Richmond. Just when she’s poised to change her mind and stay, an out-of-town buyer’s suspiciously interested in her home, and Arlo and Maywood are determined to find out why. There’s no pretension in this simple but deep story, and Arlo’s struggles in his relationships with both Ida and Poppo-and his attempts to get a sense of his family’s muddied history-are treated with both frankness and sweetness. A playful air of mystery hangs over the second half of the novel, and there are even tinges of a good ghost story as Arlo and Maywood try to scare off the prospective buyer. Art history buffs will especially appreciate the fact that the final reveal involves a long-lost painting, but the carefully detailed development of a boy learning how to deal with being caught in-between will appeal to a wide range of readers. An author’s note including the history of an African-American artist whose life inspired the lost-painting portion of the plot is included. TA - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.