cover image Anywhere But Paradise

Anywhere But Paradise

Anne Bustard. Egmont USA, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60684-585-1

The early days of Hawaiian statehood set the stage for this satisfying novel about a 12-year-old girl grudgingly navigating the biggest upheaval of her life. When Peggy Sue’s ex-military father moves their family from Texas to Hawaii in 1960, she is less than thrilled. As the new “haole” (white) girl at school, she’s an instant bully magnet for an especially bitter classmate. Peggy Sue desperately misses her grandparents and best friend back home, and her beloved cat, Howdy, must be kept in “animal quarantine jail” for 120 days. A frightening tsunami that threatens the islands pushes Peggy Sue to the brink, but she sees flashes of beauty and hope in her adopted surroundings that eventually help smooth her transition. Brief chapters help readers feel that they are counting the days until Howdy’s return along with Peggy Sue, and Bustard’s (Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly) evocative descriptions highlight both the local and universal aspects of island life. Born in Hawaii, Bustard adeptly weaves elements of Hawaiian culture, lore, and history into an emotionally rich story. Ages 10–up. Agent: Emily Mitchell, Wernick & Pratt. (Apr.)