cover image Odessa Again

Odessa Again

Dana Reinhardt, illus. by Susan Reagan. Random/Lamb, $15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-73956-6

Any child who has wished to fix a mistake by going back in time will appreciate the elation of fourth-grader Odessa Green-Light, when she discovers that she can step backward one day by stomping in exactly the right spot on her bedroom floor. At once, Odessa recognizes the advantages of this phenomenon, and when she attempts to make small alterations to the past, like improving her score on a spelling test and delivering just the right birthday gift to a lonely neighbor, all goes well. But when Odessa tries to solve bigger problems, such as her brother’s lack of popularity or her parents’ divorce, things quickly turn sour, causing Odessa to realize there is a down side to messing with fate. Deftly incorporating magic realism into her plot, Reinhardt (The Summer I Learned to Fly) introduces a smart, big-hearted heroine who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. Odessa’s triumphs and mishaps will bring laughs and pangs of sympathy, and set imaginations spinning. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (May)