Kerry Madden, Author . Viking $15.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-05998-0

At the center of Madden's (Offsides , for adults) tender novel (her first for children) about a poor and loving family in the mountains of 1960s North Carolina, is 11-year old "Livy Two." The third and perhaps most spirited of the children, Livy Two, who narrates, is charged with taking care of her three-year-old blind sister, Gentle. The first Olivia died at birth and Livy Two often prays to her for solace. Her older brother, Emmett, is feeling tension with his father, Tom, and is getting restless to move on. Meanwhile Tom hopes to make it by selling a hit song in Nashville and her mother, Jessie, works to keep the family of 10 fed and clothed. Livy Two replays all the sweet and sad moments of family life on the guitar with her own songs, such as when she overhears one of her sisters quietly describing color to Gentle: "Eat this blueberry and you'll understand the color blue." Just when things start to look up—Tom lands a job on a local TV show, and he and Livy Two plan to perform at a local concert—tragedy hits and the family digs even deeper for the grace and strength to heal differences and go on. Along with an assortment of affecting family members—particularly Grandma Horace with her collection of glass eyes, and Uncle Hazard the dog—Livy Two will burrow deeply into the hearts of young readers. Ages 9-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 237 pages - 978-1-4177-9943-5
Prebound-Glued - 237 pages - 978-0-7569-8090-0
Paperback - 237 pages - 978-0-14-240751-6
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