Skylark and Wallcreeper

Anne O’Brien Carelli. Yellow Jacket, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0745-5
Carelli alternates contemporary and historical fiction in this novel about 12-year-old Lily and her 80-year-old, French-born maternal grandmother, Collette. The contemporary story, told by Lily, takes place in New York City over nine days in fall 2012, during Hurricane Sandy. The historical narrative offers a third-person retelling of Collette’s undertakings as a 12-year-old member of the French Resistance during WWII, lasting from winter through late summer 1944 in the South of France. Lily and Collette have always been close, and when Sandy forces evacuation of the Queens nursing home where Collette lives, Lily is by her side, helping to move and resettle residents. (Lily’s anxious mother, stuck in Manhattan, communicates worriedly via cellphone.) Interspersed with the sometimes frightening challenges of the relocation are stories of Collette’s dangerous wartime work with another young woman. When Lily loses Collette’s antique fountain pen, mysteriously precious to her grandmother, she embarks on a hunt for a replacement, which serendipitously takes Lily on an adventure in which she learns the details of her grandmother’s wartime history. While the novel doesn’t quite succeed in building suspense, and the heartwarming ending strains credibility, Carelli realistically depicts the warm, complex relationships between daughter, mother, and grandmother. Ages 8–12. Agent: Carrie Pestritto, Prospect Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/03/2018
Release date: 10/02/2018
Genre: Children's
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