cover image A Face in Every Window

A Face in Every Window

Han Nolan, Author Harcourt Children's Books $16 (272p) ISBN 978-0-15-201915-0

In this sometimes outlandish, often poignant exploration of a chaotic household, Nolan (Dancing on the Edge) delectably takes the notion of ""nontraditional family"" to extremes. The novel opens when narrator James Patrick (JP) has just lost his grandmother. The son of a fragile mother and mentally disabled father, JP begins to realize just how much his grandmother held them together. When his childlike mother attempts to take charge, she moves them to a rambling old farmhouse that she wins in a contest for invoking a Harpo Marx quote (""When she came home from work each day she wanted to see `a face in every window' ""). JP becomes increasingly distressed as his mother invites an odd assortment of outcasts, artists and musicians to live with them. Nolan takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride right along with JP, who initially holes up in his room, trying to distance himself from the unwelcome visitors, then opens his door and heart little by little as he begins to accept his new role in an ever-changing family. In addition to a supporting cast as compelling and offbeat as the main characters, the author delivers a profound and heartwarming message about the various manifestations of love. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)