Her brother understands her, but he’s in Afghanistan. Her father hasn't been the same since George deployed. Her mother focuses on Ariel’s gorgeous sister. When Gloria is selected to be an Apple Blossom Parade princess, Ariel feels even more the outsider and takes to the hills.
There, during a raging storm, Ariel finds a lost dog who leads her to the safety of a cabin and Sergeant Josie, a former Army K-9 handler. Together—with music, dog-dancing, and a storm-child-crazy plan—the three outcasts find themselves.
In this whimsical tale of self-discovery, L. M. Elliott captures the flavor of Virginia’s hunt country and Appalachia, while exploring definitions of beauty and belonging. Storm Dog will make readers proud to dance to their own rhythms.
The characters are all interesting and well developed. Ariel is outspoken and acerbic, and clearly knows that her mother is playing favorites. While it was fun to watch her get into highjinks with Marcus, I was worried about the dogs. The mother's behavior was inexcusable, which will delight young readers, and it was good to see that the sister does come around a bit and treat Ariel better.
I loved this author's Annie Between the States, Hamilton and Peggy, Suspect Red, and especially Under a War-Torn Sky (2001). It's great to see an author embrace so many different kinds of stories, but tie them all to a specific location. This is similar to Sorosiak's I, Cosmo, when it comes to working with dogs and teaching them to dance. The songs seemed to be a little outdated for today's students, but this might be a good book for an intergenerational read because of that!