Finley, 11, is sent to spend her summer at Hart House, her estranged grandparents’ country estate, while her parents deal with their divorce. Feeling like a stranger among her own family, she finds solace in the woods across the river because she believes them to be the real version of the magical Everwood she writes about. Legrand (The Year of Shadows) weaves portions of Finley’s tales seamlessly through the novel, building a foundation of understanding for Finley’s feelings of isolation and overwhelming sadness. As Finley allows her cousins into her imaginary world, she begins to trust her family and build friendships, but these new feelings of acceptance do not keep Finley’s depression and anxiety at bay. Legrand handles the tough subject of childhood mental health gently and honestly, and—through the dual narratives of Finley’s real and fantasy lives—paints a realistic picture of a girl trying to figure out what’s wrong with her. Finley’s quest to uncover family secrets reveals not just what kept her father away from his relatives but how a family sticks together through good times and bad. Ages 8–12. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/29/2016 Release date: 05/17/2016 Genre: Children's
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