Thursday, April 16, 2020


Kear, Nicole C. Foreverland
April 21st 2020 by Imprint
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Margaret is angry with her parents, and decides that the last happy day her family had was at Foreverland, a small and somewhat tacky theme park an hour or so from her home. She decides to run away and live there, bringing along a backpack. She hops the train, pays the admission, and is in. She begins her time with a junk food pig out, but chokes on a hot dog and is saved by a mysterious boy who seems to be following her. This turns out to be Jaime, who is also attempting to live in the park, but whom security is trying to find. Jaime is impressed that Margaret spent the night in Dracula's bed in the Haunted House, and promises to help her get her backpack back from The Captain, who runs the park and almost caught her. The two start to hang out together, going on rides, eating food provided by Jaime's connection Belle, and keeping a low profile. Of course, since the authorities are already looking for Jaime, this is difficult, and when Margaret runs into her former best friend Priya's family, she knows that her time in the park won't last forever, and she helps Jaime make peace with his past so that he can leave the park as well.
Strengths: What tween hasn't wanted to run away from home, especially to live in an amusement park? Like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or Newman's One Mixed-Up Night, this is a fun look at what it would be like to try to run away. The haunted house scene is hysterical, and there are deeper issues that Margaret is trying to work through, although they aren't all that heavy. Jaime has sadder issues, but they are lightly addressed. Foreverland is a fun, slightly hokey place that is just the right size for spending a night or two.
Weaknesses: There are some details left out, like washing up and the parents worrying, that could have been included in order to add that lovely air of The Boxcar Children to the portrayal of daily life.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing this one. Not sure how much it will circulate, but I see it being one of those books that is a favorite with the right reader, and a title that will last for a good long time. I personally always planned to run away to the woods behind my aunt's house, because I knew I could break into her garage for food!
Ms. Yingling

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