cover image Take Me with You

Take Me with You

Carolyn Marsden, . . Candlewick, $14.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3739-2

Marsden (The Gold-Threaded Dress ) again deftly weaves a multicultural thread into her fiction. A decade after the end of WWII, best friends Susanna and Pina are being raised by nuns in a Naples home for girls who were abandoned as babies. Convinced that their parents must be dead since they haven't come for them, the girls long to be adopted, but prospective parents haven't selected either of them. Golden-haired Pina thinks her mischievous behavior is the problem, while Susanna believes her dark skin is to blame. Though each discovers she has a birth parent alive, the author realistically steers clear of a pat, feel-good resolution. After a letter arrives from her father, an American sailor who's on a tour of duty, Susanna plaintively wonders, “Why would a father not drop everything to hurry to his daughter?” Pina holds out hope when she learns that her mother lives nearby yet can't care for her and has withheld permission for her daughter to be adopted (“I belong to someone. Someday my mother will come”). It's a poignant novel, enriched by expressive writing and credible characters. Ages 10–up. (Mar.)