Liberty is having a tough time of it. She and her sister, Billie, have lost their mom. Their dad has never been reliable and hasn’t been in their lives for quite some time. However, he agrees to take the girls, at least for the summer, as he explores the southwest. Life with dad is not great, but takes a turn for the worse when he abandons Liberty and Billie at a gas station far from home. Liberty feels that it is up to her to protect her sister and get the two of them back to safety. It is a lot for a twelve year old to handle. This book is filled with quirky characters that the girls encounter along their journey home.
This book captured me from the start. Liberty’s desire to protect her sister is heart tugging. Her journey is not an easy one, and hasn’t been for some time, but you will be rooting for both she and Billie until the last page.
Jen White’s debut novel reminded me of my favorite TV series of all time, Gilmore Girls. Both the book and the series have a powerful team of girls at the heart of it. There are also many secondary characters that pull you in and leave you wanting to know more about them. The characters that Liberty and Billie encounter range from the crazy – a Star Wars obsessed boy’s brother, to the helpful – a tattooed truck driver.
I also loved Liberty’s habit of writing in her notebook and her strategies that started off each chapter that she was sure would get them home.
This is a book perfect for so many of my fifth graders. Those kids that love a realistic fiction adventure story that has an amazing relationship at its core. They will devour it. I cannot wait to share this one with them.