cover image Far from Fair

Far from Fair

Elana K. Arnold. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-544-60227-4

Living in an RV is the last thing 12-year-old Odette Zyskowski wants—in fact, it tops her list of “things that aren’t fair.” But her father took a “voluntary layoff” from work, and the family is selling its California house to care for Odette’s ailing grandmother in Washington State. The family (along with Odette’s new dog and her younger brother’s ferret) sets off on an eventful road trip. Between cramped quarters, car trouble, her parents’ rocky marriage, and endless hours of driving, Odette is miserable (not even running helps), and everyone knows it. Arnold’s The Question of Miracles dealt equally well with topics of leaving home and losing a loved one, and she has a knack for sympathetically expressing Odette’s confusing emotions about those events, as well as feeling disconnected from her best friend and liking a boy she meets. Arnold’s descriptive prose and short, episodic chapters warmly relay the family’s struggles. It’s an engaging, emotional ride as Odette learns the truth of one of her grandmother’s sayings: “Even in the bad... there is opportunity for good.” Ages 10–12. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Mar.)