Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

Connor, Leslie. A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
February 25th 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Lydia Bratches-Kemp's father walked out when she was young, and her mother struggled for years with a heart condition before dying. She is fortunate enough to have Aunt Brat and her wife, Eileen take her in, although it means moving from Rochester to Connecticut, and entering 8th grade after being home schooled so she could spend more time with her mother. The two women live with ninety year old Elloroy in his farmhouse in exchange for cooking and helping out, and the group gets along well. They decide to adopt a dog and decide upon a large yellow dog who is not easy to house train, and whom they eventually name Guffer. Lydia has to process her mother's death, and hangs a lot of of her mother's artwork (the titular goddesses) behind the walls of her bedroom, in a crawl space. She makes friends with the girls at school, but is at odds with a neighbor who tries to scare Guffer. She is also conflicted about contacting her estranged father. There are some other occurrences, such as mutilated baby goats turning up at Eileen's work place and being fostered by neighbors. As winter turns to spring, Lydia starts to get her balance in her new normal, and neither the dog nor Elloroy die.
Strengths: Connor is an excellent writer with the ability to pull me into a story and make me care about her characters. She gives a believable backstory for Lydia and also imbues her with a sense of realism and hope. The farm setting, and especially Elloroy, is fresh and interesting. The animals add another layer of interest. It's also nice to see students welcome a new member in a small school.
Weaknesses: This was on the long side, and there were too many details about certain things (house breaking, the goats, the artwork, the renovation of the upstairs) for my taste. It got repetitive and slowed the story down.
What I really think: This is the type of cover that doesn't do well in my library, so I am weighing the decision to buy this one. While I love Connor's work, the only title of hers that circulates well is Waiting for Normal, and occasionally Crunch. The Truth as Told By Mason Buttle only checked out twice last year.
Ms. Yingling

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