Eleven and Holding

Eleven and Holding
Age Range
Release Date
June 07, 2016
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Macy Hollinquest is eleven years old, and don’t count on her to change that anytime soon.

Her birthday is just days away, but she has no intention of turning twelve without her dad by her side. He’d promised to be there for her big day, and yet he’s been gone for months—away after his discharge from the army, doing some kind of top secret, “important work.”

So Macy’s staying eleven, no matter what—that is, until she meets Ginger, a nice older lady who is searching for her missing dog. Ginger’s dog search is the perfect cover for Macy’s attempt to locate her dad. But her hunt puts her on a path to a head-on collision with the truth, where she discovers that knowing can sometimes be a heavy burden. And that change, when finally accepted, comes with an unexpected kind of grace.

Editor review

1 review
Problems affecting military families.
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Macy is dealing with a lot of issues. She is starting middle school in the fall, and she's upset that her best friend, Twee, won't be with her because she's only in the fifth grade. Her Nana has recently passed away, and her business, a coffee cafe, has been sold to Chuck, whom Macy dislikes even though he gives her free coffee once a week. Most importantly, her father is back from fighting in the military, but hasn't come home because he is working on a very important "secret project". Macy is concerned that her mother, a parole officer, is going to divorce him and marry Chuck. Not wanting to celebrate her 12th birthday until she is reunited with her father, Macy decides to try to visit him. In order to get the funding to do so, she and Twee try to find the dog of an older woman, Ginger, who crashes her motorcycle into the cafe. Aided by Switch, a boy who keeps running away from foster homes, Macy manages to make her way to where her father is, but finds out the real reason why he isn't coming home, as well as secrets about Ginger, Chuck and Switch.
Good Points
It is difficult to find stories that center around military families, but it's an important topic, and it would be helpful to have more titles about this. While Macy's mother doesn't deal honestly with her about what is wrong with her father, her mother is still supportive and understanding about Macy not wanting to celebrate her birthday. The topic of dementia in the elderly is also addressed, with Ginger's insistence that her dog has run away turning out to be part of her increasing failure to understand current events. There is also a nice touch about the relationship between Ginger and Chuck.

The adventure of traveling to see her father includes some poor choices, but nothing overly dangerous. Switch makes sure that he tells Ginger they are borrowing her motorcycle, and the distance being traveled isn't too far. Macy attempts to watch out for her own safety when she is at the bus station, and understands that she shouldn't be making the trip.

Readers who enjoy books with children who have difficulties, such as Hour of the Bees, Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, and Ms. Bixby's Last Day will find Macy's struggles and adventures interesting and compelling.
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