In Milwaukee, Isabelle Day had a house. And she had a father. This year, on Halloween, she has half of a house in Minneapolis, a mother at least as sad as she is, and a loss that’s too hard to think—let alone talk—about. It’s the Midwest in the early 1960s, and dads just don’t die . . . like that.
Hovering over Isabelle’s new world are the duplex’s too-attentive landladies, Miss Flora (“a lovely dried flower”) and her sister Miss Dora (“grim as roadkill”), who dwell in a sea of memories and doilies; the gleefully demonic Sister Mary Mercy, who rules a school awash in cigarette smoke; and classmates steady Margaret and edgy Grace, who hold out some hope of friendship. As Isabelle’s first tentative steps carry her through unfamiliar territory—classroom debacles and misadventures at home and beyond, time trapped in a storm-tossed cemetery and investigating an inhospitable hospital—she begins to discover that, when it comes to pain and loss, she might actually be in good company.
In light of the elderly sisters’ lives, Grace and Margaret’s friendship, and her father’s memory, she just might find the heart and humor to save herself. With characteristic sensitivity and wit, Jane St. Anthony reveals how a girl’s life clouded with grief can also hold a world of promise.
Not since Charlotte's Web have I read a book that pays as much homage to the power of friendship. Isabelle is a survivor; you can't help but cheer for her. Jane St. Anthony creates characters that captivate your heart and stay with you long after you reluctantly come to the end of the book.
-Loretta Ellsworth, author of Unforgettable
"Gently depicted incidents of everyday life believably provide a balm for Isabelle's aching soul. Stories for the middle grade audience that deal with the suicide of a parent are few, and this one, sensitive but never syrupy, stands out."-Kirkus Reviews
"Well-drawn characters distinguish an understated story about facing loss and keeping an eye out for moments of brightness during difficult times."-Publishers Weekly
"I'm sure my younger self, the one that loved "Little Women" and "Daddy Long Legs" would have kissed this book after she finished and hugged it for a long while."-Words&Dreams
"A thoughtful, often somber story, this will be appreciated most by fans of the earlier novels."-Booklist
"Quirky and wry, this is a sensitive, yet funny book about dealing with loss. "-For the Love of Books
"A funny and absorbing book about learning to deal with grief. "-Bookology
"Isabelle's growing closeness with old and young alike allows exchanges of confidences that prove that refusing to die of a broken heart needn't be just wishful thinking. With love and friendship, it is profoundly possible."-Star Tribune
For Ages: 9 - 11 years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Number Of Pages: 152
Published: 22nd May 2018
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.3 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.14