cover image Code Name: Serendipity

Code Name: Serendipity

Amber Smith. Razorbill, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-20491-7

Eleven-year-old narrator Sadie Mitchell-Rosen lives with her mothers (brown-skinned Mom and cued-white Mama) and 14-year-old brother, Noah (the siblings are “gold and sand”–skinned). Recently diagnosed with a processing disorder, “or as my moms always say, a difference,” the young artist dreads “the carnival of suckage that fifth grade has become.” Sadie has recently drawn the ire of “Mean Machine” Macy, who’s of Japanese descent; her best friend has moved away; and her increasingly confused grandfather comes to live with the family for reasons her moms won’t share. The one bright spot is a dog, Dewey, whom Sadie encounters in the woods near her home and who communicates telepathically with her. So when Dewey is slated for euthanasia at the shelter where Sadie’s veterinarian mother works, the girl becomes intent on saving Dewey’s life, and Gramps hatches a plan to hide the animal. Smith (Something Like Gravity) creates three-dimensional characters and a warm family dynamic, sensitively portraying learning differences and a beloved grandparent with dementia, and exploring difficult feelings without offering easy answers. Sadie’s struggles with friendship and being taken seriously ring true, as do her sympathetic voice and heartfelt love of dogs. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)