Josie usually keeps to herself, but she comes out of her shell when she and her dog, Clementine, volunteer at the local hospital during the holiday season. Josie loves dressing up in silly costumes, singing carols, and helping to prepare for the big Christmas Festival. That is, until she learns that this year's Festival has been canceled. Meanwhile, Oscar's parents are fighting more and more--and so is he. He gets into trouble at school, and his punishment? Volunteer hours at the local hospital. Gabby's life seems perfect. She's stylish, smart, and everyone looks up to her. But Gabby has a secret, one that could ruin everything. Then, Clementine disappears, Oscar's parents separate, and Gabby's secret is uncovered. Together, can Josie, Oscar, and Gabby find a way to save the holiday, or will this be the worst Christmas ever?
Clementine for ChristmasFeaturedHot
Oscar is forced to volunteer at the hospital Josie volunteers at, but he isn't much help. Instead, he's a grump who makes Josie's time there frustrating, even though it's something she loves. Gabby wants to keep her epilepsy a secret, but what happens when Oscar and Josie discover Gabby in the hospital getting checkups? What happens when Clementine goes missing and the Christmas festival Josie's been working hard to put on is canceled?
There's a lot going on in this, but it's done well. The story is packed with emotion and holds your attention the whole way through. I like seeing Oscar open up after witnessing so many ill children. It makes him realize that everyone has problems and some have it worse than others. CLEMENTINE FOR CHRISTMAS will get you in the Christmas spirit and lift your heart as these three children come together to make things right.
Final Verdict: This is perfect for fans of Christmas, dogs, and friendship. It's heart-warming and perfect for those who might be going through a difficult time.
There were many multicultural characters in the book without the book being about any one culture, which was refreshing to see. Josie is half Vietnamese, Gabby is Hispanic, and Frost Ridge is populated with characters with Asian, Italian and Indian names, as well as several African-American characters. Most of the characters struggle a bit economically, which is more realistic than having them all live in multimillion dollar houses! Middle grade readers like to know that other children are struggling with parents who fight or parents who are worried about their jobs.
Clementine is a fantastic character, too, and her service in the hospital is well-described.
There are not many Christmas related books for middle grade readers, and the cover on this is great, although I would have liked to see one of Josie's grandmother's sweaters in the picture somewhere! Fans of thought-provoking novels like Bauer's Almost Home, Booth's Kinda Like Brothers, or Schroeder's It's Raining Cupcakes will enjoy this tale of community service around the holidays.