cover image A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

Leslie Connor. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-279678-3

After her single mother’s protracted illness and death, 13-year-old narrator Lydia moves to a rural Connecticut town to live with her matter-of-fact aunt Brat, her buoyant wife Eileen, their greyhound, and their elderly landlord, Elloroy. Soon after she arrives, they adopt a rambunctious rescue dog, Guffer, but Lydia isn’t a dog person, and it takes time for her to warm to him. Formerly homeschooled by her mother, she must also adapt to the tiny school, where she eventually forms close friendships. Secrets prove a strong thread, including Lydia’s missing dad and the rehabilitation of two maimed pygmy goats. Lydia has her own secret, too: she initially conceals paper collages of goddesses (e.g., the Goddess of Gratitude, the Goddess of the Third Heart) that Lydia and her mother created from salvaged objects to “cope and to keep hope” as her mother’s heart grew weaker. When she shares these creations with both family and new friends after a mishap, their reaction to her revelation intensifies their bonds. Though the narrative’s leisurely pace fits within the slow, tight-knit community, it can meander. What stands out is the narrative’s essential kindness, as Lydia heals and rediscovers the meaning of home and family. Ages 10–up. [em](Feb.) [/em]