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|Survival strategies of the almost brave|
Author: White, Jen
Soon after their mother's sudden death in San Diego, Liberty, twelve, and Billie, eight, are abandoned at an Arizona gas station by the father they barely know and Liberty must find a way to keep them together and safe until either Dad returns or they can contact Julie, their mother's best friend.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 174665
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/15)
School Library Journal (03/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2015 Gr 4–7—When 12-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister are abandoned at a gas station by a father who's unpredictable on his best days, Liberty takes the responsibility of protecting Billie quite seriously. After all, her recently deceased mother told her again and again that it was part of her job as the older sibling. Not wanting to get her dad in trouble, Liberty decides to avoid adult "help" altogether, choosing instead to make her own way back to San Diego and her mom's friend Julie. The result is a series of encounters with quirky characters. Some adventures are scary, some funny, some slapstick, until hunger, injury, and dehydration make adult intervention necessary and inevitable. Liberty's voice is authentic throughout, although Billie sometimes acts younger than her eight years. Debut author White uses a number of devices to unify the sometimes-hectic action scenes. For example, Liberty takes comfort from her notebook, her lists, and her knowledge of other animal species. These motifs help readers to understand Liberty, and they smooth transitions between encounters. However, these literary devices are not woven as smoothly into the plot as they might be in the hands of a more experienced writer. Taken as a whole, this is a satisfying picaresque escapade, assuming one can accept the premise that an abandoned 12-year-old would think it wiser to be on her own in the desert with a sister who has only one shoe than to ask for help from a sheriff. The ending, fortunately, is happy yet realistic. VERDICT An additional purchase, recommended for larger middle grade collections.—Katherine Koenig, The Ellis School, PA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.