The Stars of Whistling Ridge

Cindy Baldwin. Quill Tree, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-300641-6

With a majority white cast and a dash of fantasy, Baldwin (Beginners Welcome) deftly pens a tribute to the places called home and the rigors of growing up. Ivy Mae Bloom, 12, wants nothing more to put down roots, in direct opposition to her family’s highly nomadic lifestyle of traversing North America in a Winnebago named Martha. Along with her magic-managing, wish-granting, literal-fallen-star mother, travel writer father, and two younger sisters, most of Ivy’s life has been spent moving from place to place—until one night, she makes a wish destined to change everything. Sending the family through a series of calamities, to her aunt’s house in Whistling Ridge, N.C.—a place that immediately feels like home—Ivy soon finds herself drawn to similarly aged Ravi, who’s Indian American, and talkative Simon, their burgeoning friendship bolstered by the mythos surrounding a town legend from the last century. While the novel alternately glides through a vividly painted landscape and stumbles over hazy fantastical ground, Baldwin satisfyingly renders picturesque descriptions of the setting, the awkward painfulness marking the transition from child to teen, and a robust family core. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown Ltd. (June) [/em]