Sunday, July 13, 2014

Skies Like These.

Hilmo, Tess. Skies Like These.
July 15th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from

Jade's parents think she does not spend her summers wisely in Philadelphia, even though she loves just hanging out, reading, and having a quiet time. They send her to her aunt's doggie dude ranch in Wyoming for the summer, and she is leery of a new environment, but settles in well. She meets Roy, a neighbor boy her age whose parents are losing their local hardware store. Roy, who believes he is descended from Butch Cassidy, believes that the new big box hardware store is to blame for his family's misfortune, and comes up with ways to get back at the owner. Jade is uncomfortable being enlisted to help with these endeavors, and tries to find more positive and productive ways to save the store, including convincing Roy's mother to enter the local Cowboy Poetry contest. In the end, Roy's parents don't even really want to save the store, and Jade gets to know her aunt and enjoys some adventure.
Strengths: Very good details about Wyoming and the culture of the West. Can't think of too many books that include this. I also think this is a great book that is unisex; even though Jade is the main character, Roy plays a big part, and since the cover is neutral, all students will be willing to pick it up. I know, I know-- there shouldn't be "girl book" and "boy books", but many middle grade books do fall into categories, much the same way that children's clothing is occasionally unisex but more often than not isn't!
Weaknesses: A bit slow and introspective.

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