cover image The House That Wasn’t There

The House That Wasn’t There

Elana K. Arnold. Walden Pond, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-293706-3

In an enticing story about “opossums and teacups and kittens and doors. Fathers and sweaters and yarn balls and more,” Arnold (Starla Jean) centers a series of coincidences that lead to magic and change. Eleven-year-old Alder resents the new next-door neighbors, who have cut down the giant, beloved walnut tree that shaded his and his widowed mother’s “small but neat” home. As a result, Alder, a knitter who recently lost his best friend to cross-country club, wants nothing to do with new neighbor, Oak, who’s herself angry about moving from San Francisco to L.A. Nevertheless, they’re drawn together time and again—the classmates even inadvertently adopt sibling kittens, who lead them to a mysterious house on the site of the downed tree, one that is occupied by a living version of Arnold’s most beloved companion, a taxidermied possum named Mort. Told through alternating perspectives that offer clearly rendered details, this compassionate novel gives a unique twist to familiar situations—feeling lonely, adjusting to new environments, forging new bonds—while inviting readers to open their imaginations to all sorts of wonderful possibilities. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Mar.) [/em]