Cassie Rodrigues’s adventurous mother was the vital heart of her family, always singing and making grand plans. Now that she has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, she’s childlike, unpredictable, and unable to remember Cassie’s name. Cassie’s father wants to keep her mom indoors to protect her, but Cassie, an artist, knows that Mom, who “has always loved being outside and going places,” needs to walk in the canyon near their home and do the things that bring her joy. Though the fifth grader has pulled back from her best friend Bailey, she enlists Bailey’s help to take her mother on one last adventure—secretly achieving her mom’s lifelong dream to swim with dolphins in San Diego—before she’s moved to a care facility. The moving narrative gives readers a sense of the condition’s advancement through Cassie’s memories of her mother, pre-Alzheimer’s. Though Cassie’s endless patience with her mother’s behavior at times strains credulity, it shows the depth of her love amid the disease’s realities, convincingly portrayed alongside the heartbreaking loss that Cassie and her father experience. Ages 8–11. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Apr.) Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the family's home state.
Reviewed on : 02/26/2020 Release date: 04/01/2020 Genre: Children's