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Author: Summers, Laura
Vicky, 13, her brain-damaged twin sister, and her delinquent little brother run away to keep from being split up by the foster care system.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 145563
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/11)
School Library Journal (07/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (06/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2011 Vicky and Rhianna (twins, just turned thirteen) and their brother Jamie (ten) like the foster home where they currently live, so they’re devastated when health problems mean their foster parents can no longer care for them. Faced with the prospect of being split up, they decide to run away, heading off to join Great-Auntie Irene, with whom they used to stay on vacation. Arriving at her place, however, they discover that the old lady has died, so they hide out in a nearby cave with the aid of Daniel, a boy now living in Irene’s old house. British author Summers writes with a bubbling and lively informality, and the narration, which alternates between Vicky and Rhianna (whose infant brain damage has left her with moderate developmental delays), is chattily immediate. Even the eternal appeal of a runaway-kids story isn’t enough to surmount the problems of plot and character here, though. The story is mostly a string of hackneyed events, many of them fairly implausible-the kids magically have money for a train trip, for instance; there’s a lightning-fast and oddly impact-free encounter with an apparent pedophilic predator; Vicky finds true first love with Daniel; the kids’ imprisoned father, who hasn’t bothered to send them birthday cards for a while, not only breaks out of jail upon hearing of their disappearance but is then awarded custody. Young readers after adventure rather than authenticity may not mind, though, and they’ll warm to the details of a trio of youngsters on a journey to find home. DS - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2011 Gr 4–7—This debut novel, told in alternating chapters by 13-year-old twins, Vicky and Rhianna Davies, recounts the desperate measures three siblings take to keep from being split up by the foster care system. The sisters are very different, with Vicky looking after her learning disabled twin as well as her younger brother, Jamie, who has behavioral issues. When their mother's death puts their father on a course that ends with his imprisonment, the kids are placed with foster parents. A difficult pregnancy in that home means that they will be separated, and they decide to run away to an elderly aunt's cottage. They are able to elude authorities and some teen bullies, and all ends on a hopeful note. While the narrators' voices ring true, the plot is predictable and the secondary characters, especially the unsympathetic social workers, are stereotypical. This novel is reminiscent of Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming (Ballantine, 1983), with a similar plot, a strong female teenager as the leader, a feisty and obstreperous younger brother, and a sister in need of caretaking. Perhaps because Homecoming was written in the less dangerous time of the 1980s, the Tillermans' journey seems more believable. That the Davies children get as far as they do, with the help of adults who don't notify the police, seems harder to fathom. The book's real appeal lies in the well-developed, sympathetic character of Rhianna; through her, readers begin to understand issues around being learning disabled and different.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.