cover image Closer to Nowhere

Closer to Nowhere

Ellen Hopkins. Putnam, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-10861-1

In this two-voicer written in prose poems, Hopkins (People Kill People) tells the story of cousins Hannah Lincoln and Calvin Pace, both sixth graders. Following his mother’s death three years prior and subsequent difficulties with his father, who struggles with drug addiction, Cal is living with Hannah’s family. He likes it there, but he’s been through a lot and doesn’t feel completely safe, and he knows that popular gymnast Hannah isn’t crazy about having a housemate who melts down at school and whose tall tales and disappearances bring chaos into her home life. She admits that things haven’t been great for a while, but it’s hard not to blame Cal when her parents’ marriage seems to be fraying, in part because they disagree about how to handle him. Cal’s an aspiring writer, and his chapters question their own accuracy (“FACT OR FICTION:/ Owls Are Bad Luck”); Hannah’s sections are framed as definitions, as she tries to pin down what’s what. While the headers can feel forced, Hopkins creates realistic portrayals of two kids trying to do their best even when it’s not easy. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.) [/em]