Wild Blues

Beth Kephart. . Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9153-2

Lizzie’s mom has been diagnosed with cancer and needs treatment, and she asks her 13-year-old daughter where she wants to spend the summer. Lizzie chooses to be with her uncle Davy at his renovated schoolhouse cabin in the Adirondacks. Despite her worry over her mother, she is excited to spend time with Uncle Davy, a television star who specializes in antiques, and her friend Matias, an El Salvadoran boy who suffers from proportionate dwarfism and paints beautiful watercolors. Addressing a mysterious listener directly, Lizzie relates the unexpected events that unfold: the kidnapping of her friend and uncle by two convicts escaped from the nearby prison, the steps Lizzie takes to rescue them, and the terrible aftermath of the crime. Lizzie is an honest, heroic character who is fascinated by biology and the world around her. Kephart’s novel features passages told in stirring poetic language and with a sophisticated, descriptive tone: “The shadows between the trees beyond the lake are not always bears or wolves or rats or snakes. The end of the world isn’t always the end.” Lizzie’s story of friendship and family is also one of literary depth; readers will be entranced by this exceptional offering from National Book Award–finalist Kephart. Ages 10–14. [em]Agent: Danielle Smith, Red Fox Literary. (June) [/em]
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