cover image A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Joy McCullough. Atheneum, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3849-1

Ambitious nine-year-old coder Sutton, who is white, prefers life to be predictable. She worries about being left alone when her mother, who is researching emperor penguins, must miss Sutton’s birthday and her father gets serious about the woman he’s dating, Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s son, 10-year-old biracial (half Latinx, half white) Luis, practices “Mad-Eye Moody levels of constant vigilance” due to food allergies and longs for an adventure outside the fantasy story he’s writing. Luis is glad that his mom is dating—his dad died when Luis was young—but when the kids first meet, they seem to have little in common. Separated from their parents on a hike, the Seattle-area twosome must chart a new course, en route learning things about themselves and each other. In alternating first-person narratives, McCullough (Blood Water Paint) realistically portrays Sutton’s need for order alongside the frustration that both feel when things go awry. Sweet communal details, such as food prepared by Sutton’s ethnically diverse neighbors and the gluten-free French toast that Elizabeth makes, bring this warm tale to life. Ages 8–up. [em]Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Apr.) [/em]