cover image A Rambler Steals Home

A Rambler Steals Home

Carter Higgins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-544-60201-4

Higgins’s tender debut introduces Derby, who lives on the road with her father, Garland, and younger brother, Triple, operating a concession stand hitched to their Rambler trailer. Each summer finds the three returning to the same small Virginia town, where they sell food outside the minor league baseball stadium. Garland believes that “being a rambler of the road meant three things: food, family, and fun,” but their itinerant lifestyle means loneliness for Derby, rooted in the absence of her mother, who disappeared years ago. This year, the 11-year-old grapples with changes in her relationships with her best friend Marcus and nemesis Betsy, while uncovering secrets from the past. Derby’s deep bond with Garland and Triple forms the heart of Higgins’s story, as does Derby’s devotion to June, a recently widowed woman who works at the stadium. Through there are a few heavy-handed metaphors in Higgins’s narrative (with its peeling paint, June’s front door was one “whose welcome had withered”), readers will easily connect with the story’s reflections on belonging, hope, family, and the meaning of home. Ages 10–12. [em]Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Feb.) [/em]