It’s moving story, with themes about family, belonging, growing up, and learning to see past the surface of things, set during the 1830s and 40s. It pulls you in, makes you care for characters, doesn’t spare you any of the pain of loss or change, takes you across the country on the Oregon Trail, makes you feel fear and first love. It manages to feel gritty without much violence, and it makes history close and immediate.
But will any kids pick it up off the shelf? I know, I know – just because it won’t get checked out like crazy doesn’t mean there aren’t readers who want and need stories like this. But it’s one of those children’s books that you could imagine published for the adult market with a few small changes. On the other hand, it really is about the experience of being a child – of dealing with change and growing up. Definitely recommended.
Source: I picked up an ARC at PLA.