cover image Ginny Off the Map

Ginny Off the Map

Caroline Hickey, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Little, Brown/Ottaviano, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-32462-5

In the early 2010s, 11-year-old Ginny, an aspiring geoscientist, works to cope with a summer of change in her frequently moving Army family. She anticipates that their next move, from North Carolina to Maryland, will be difficult, but she’s gutted when her ER doctor father—“the one person who really, truly gets me”—is immediately deployed to Afghanistan. Things get even worse when her much-anticipated geography camp is canceled and she’s enrolled in a disastrous jewelry course instead; meanwhile, an already contentious relationship with her athletic 12-year-old sister Allie turns venomous as Allie seems to make friends with ease. Constantly taking in geography facts, doodling maps, and adulating oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp, Ginny nevertheless grows more miserable, worrying about her father and fearing she’ll never understand his parting advice that she follow her “true north.” Through Ginny’s experiences, Hickey (Heroes and Horses) portrays the full emotional cycle of deployment with accuracy and compassion. Immersive first-person chapters, which each open with a geography fact, accurately convey the comfort and the isolation that can accompany an intense special interest alongside Ginny’s broadening recognition of the needs of the people around her. Occasional fine-lined b&w illustrations by Murphy depict pivotal scenes. Protagonists cue as white; the secondary cast is racially diverse. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Alex Glass, Glass Literary Management. (June)