cover image Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is

Jo Knowles. Candlewick, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0003-4

Summer starts off with a bang for Rachel when she receives a refurbished bike for her 13th birthday, but things quickly go downhill as she confronts unwanted change. Her longtime best friend, Micah, wants more than just friendship, but Rachel doesn’t think she is attracted to any boy—or anyone at all—something that makes her feel “different.” Then there are the escalating fights between her parents about money, which are scary to both Rachel and her little sister, Ivy. If keeping Ivy distracted from family problems isn’t hard enough, Rachel’s also taking care of her neighbors’ animals for the summer, and the peckish chickens and an aggressive pig might prove to be more than she can handle. In this bittersweet coming-of-age novel rooted in some of the author’s own experiences, Knowles (Still a Work in Progress) paints a down-to-earth picture of an adolescent girl who is saddled with too many responsibilities. Rachel’s anger and frustration over not being able to control her situation is as vividly expressed as her growing maturity and courage. Ages 10–14. [em]Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Apr.) [/em]