cover image The Care and Keeping of Freddy

The Care and Keeping of Freddy

Susan Hill Long. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7519-9

On the day Georgia Weathers’s mother, Blythe, leaves their small Maine town with an old flame, Blythe buys Georgia a bearded dragon, Freddy. One year and eight months later, now 11-year-old Georgia, who is white, and her best friend Maria Elena Garcia, who is Mexican American, meet Roland Park, a redheaded new arrival in Prospect Harbor. When Roland, a foster child, shoplifts from the pet shop, the girls chase after him, and a friendship is born. And Georgia will need her friends when her mother announces that she, her new husband, and Rosie, Georgia’s baby half sister, are moving back to town. Georgia loves Rosie on first sight, but her plan to shove her stepfather out of the picture and reunite her parents proves difficult as her mother becomes increasingly challenging and requests more of Georgia. Over the course of the summer, Georgia and her friends must lean on one another as they each face different family struggles. Long (Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life) offers an honest, accessibly written look at family and the challenges of loving people who may prove hurtful, one that’s both raw and warm in its compassionate telling. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)