cover image Something Like Home

Something Like Home

Andrea Beatriz Arango. Random House, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-56618-3

Latinx 11-year-old Laura Rodríguez Colón believes that it’s her fault she was separated from her parents and sent to live with her aunt, Titi Sylvia, a “rich perfect stranger” who resides on the other side of Laura’s Virginia county. If she hadn’t called 911, she thinks, her parents wouldn’t have been sent to rehab for substance reliance, and she wouldn’t be staring down the barrel of an uncertain future with Titi Sylvia, whose emotionally closed-off nature makes Laura feel isolated. Though she’d rather be with her parents, she’s elated when Titi Sylvia lets her keep the abandoned pup that Laura finds in town, which she names Sparrow. When Laura is told that she can’t visit her parents in rehab, she resolves to train Sparrow as a therapy dog, because “Children may not be allowed in Harmonic Way... but apparently therapy dogs and their owners/ are.” Laura’s improvised training seems to go well, until a disastrous event imperils her hard work. In moving, approachable verse, Arango (Iveliz Explains It All) thoughtfully portrays Laura’s guilt and the constant push-and-pull of her desire to be with her parents and her growing connection with Titi Sylvia. Abundant bird facts—which Laura learned on daily walks with her father—add sensitive insight into Laura’s interpretation of family and loyalty. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)