cover image The Way to Stay in Destiny

The Way to Stay in Destiny

Augusta Scattergood. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-545-53824-4

It’s May 1974, and Theo M. Thomas is begrudgingly taken in by his gruff Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam vet, and brought from Kentucky to the small town of Destiny, Fla., on the Gulf Coast (Theo’s parents died when he was young, and his grandparents can no longer care for him). They move into Miss Sister Grandersole’s Rest Easy Rooming House and Dance Academy, where Theo is saddled with chores and ordered around by his uncle, who wants little to do with him. Theo isn’t looking forward to starting sixth grade at a new school until he meets the mayor’s daughter, Anabel, who shares his love of baseball. Miss Sister encourages Theo to use his talent for playing the piano at the academy’s recital, but just when Theo feels that his destiny is at his fingertips, Uncle Raymond threatens to uproot him again. With an eye and ear for period details and dialogue, Scattergood (Glory Be) builds a cast of memorable, realistically flawed characters in an affecting story about holding on to one’s dreams. Ages 8–12. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Jan.)