cover image Rachel Chance

Rachel Chance

Jean Thesman, Studs Terkel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-395-50934-0

More than just a compelling adventure, Rachel Chance provides a bittersweet glimpse of rural Washington state in the 1940s. Rachel Chance's illegitimate brother Rider is a beautiful child, and a lot of people in town think that he'd be better off living with any family but his own. The Chances' stubbornness and unconventional behavior have won them the enmity of arrogant Pastor Woodie and his crony, the revivalist preacher Billy Bong. On the night that Bong and his entourage are scheduled to leave town, a suspicious fire occurs on the Chance farm and Rider vanishes. Convinced that the boy has been kidnapped by Bong's childless sister, Rachel travels across the state to find her brother and bring him home. Simple yet powerful writing and an abundance of winning personalities make this novel difficult to put down. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)