Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1526
Grief is a complicated matter
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
After their mother's death from cancer, 4th grader Pippa refuses to speak, and her brother, 7th grader Jack, feels responsible. Their father is struggling as well. The family's water and electricity are turned off, their credit card is declined when the children go to buy new school clothes, and when Jack and Pippa visit their father's car dealership, they realizes that he has had to close it. Luckily, they have a neighbor, Nibs, who is there to help them. Nibs alerts Pippa's teachers to her problem, and watches out for the children. Jack is not getting along too well with his friend Ben, and he's glad to meet a new girl in their neighborhood, Shelby, who is also very kind to Pippa. Jack is very worried when his father tells him that he has a plan for making the family finances right again, and doesn't want to be involved. Still, he doesn't want to lose the family's house by the lake, so he goes along with his father. Eventually, Pippa finds out about the plan, and insists on going with her father and Jack the next time they go out. Will the family ever be right again?
Good Points
This had a marvelously convoluted plot, which I don't want to spoil, which is why the description is a bit vague. This was tremendously readable, and a real page turner. I liked all of the characters, even though some of them weren't likable. Readers who like books such as Jones' Silhouetted by the Blue, Appelt's Maybe a Fox or Helget's The End of the Wild where the parents check out and provide inadequate care will have a good cry while reading this one.

More interesting than the discussion of grief is the idea that not everyone is law abiding, and the thought that some people will try to solve their problems through criminal means. I think we will be seeing more of this kind of novel in the near future, but it was rather an innovative topic.
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