cover image Library Girl

Library Girl

Polly Horvath. Holiday House/Ferguson, $18.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-823455-67-6

Essie was raised in secret by four librarians after being discovered as a baby in the children’s department of an Indiana library. Fearing kidnapping charges, the quartet devise a system to keep Essie in the building, unbeknownst to the establishment’s timid director. Loved “extravagantly” by her four mothers, Essie befriends library patrons, but she’s never left the grounds and yearns for a family that includes siblings. At age 11, Essie’s moms supply her with a bicycle, an allowance, and permission to explore the four blocks around the library, which include a pedestrian mall, a candy store, and two department stores. Despite some disappointing interactions and purchases, Essie thoroughly enjoys her weekly outings. But when she meets G.E., a boy who resembles her and appears to live in one of the department stores, she starts to wonder if they are twins separated at birth. Essie’s earnest longing for siblings and an expanded support network—rendered in a chatty, deadpan tone by Horvath (Pine Island Visitors)—impart relatable emotional depth to this laboriously quirky tale. Essie and G.E. read as white. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)