cover image The Distance to Home

The Distance to Home

Jenn Bishop. Knopf, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-101-93871-3

In a piercing first novel, Bishop introduces a family grappling with devastating loss. Jumping between two consecutive summers in the present day, the story opens as baseball-loving 11-year-old Quinnen Donnelly and her parents are grieving, separately and silently, the death of Quinnen’s popular older sister, Haley, nine months earlier. Withholding the details surrounding the tragedy until late in the story, Bishop focuses on its wrenching effects on Quinnen (“It feels like there’s this new hole inside of me, and no matter what I do, no matter what anybody says, it’ll never be filled”). The talented pitcher quits the baseball team but is buoyed by an unexpected friendship with Hector Padilla, a pitcher from the Dominican Republic who is playing for the minor league team in Quinnen’s Midwestern town. In another emotionally intense plot thread, she struggles to make peace with Haley’s boyfriend, Zack, whom Quinnen blames for creating distance and tension between her and her sister during their last months together. Bishop insightfully examines the tested relationships among grieving family members and friends in a story of resilience, forgiveness, and hope. Ages 8–12. Agent: Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Associates. [em](June) [/em]