Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Lila and Hadley

Keplinger, Kody. Lila and Hadley
April 7th 2020 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Hadley's single mom embezzled money from the doctor's office where she worked in Tennessee and is serving time in prison, so Hadley  must go live with her much older sister Beth, who does dog care work in Kentucky. She is understandably angry, because her mother always told her not to steal and lie, and Beth left right after high school and has not been in contact. Not only that, but Hadley has retinitis pigmentosa and is rapidly losing her eyesight. When she arrives in Kentucky, Beth has to stop by an animal shelter to check in about a job, and Hadley bonds with Lola, a pit bull who has not worked well with any of the staff members, even though Hadley claims again and again that she "ain't a dog person". Vanessa (? on name, left e reader at home, and I am so bad with character names!), who runs the shelter, suggests that Hadley foster Lola to give her something to do over the summer while she gets settled in. Lola ends up being one of the few reasons Hadley gets out of bed, even though a well-meaning neighbor watches her and tries to get her out of the house. Hadley reluctantly agrees to train Lola so that she can be adopted, and also agrees to some training so that she can use a cane and have coping mechanisms as her eyesight diminishes. While walking Lola, she meets a girl in the neighborhood who loves dogs, Shelby, and the two start to become friends, and Beth starts to date Vanessa. Hadley won't talk to her mother, but eventually starts to see why both her mother and Beth made the decisions they did. When the shelter thinks that Lola's original owner might have been found, will Hadley be able to give up the dog she has come to love?
Strengths: This was a very interesting depiction of someone losing eyesight, and I did have a student several years ago who had this disease. Lola is very instrumental in helping Hadley deal with this, although was not a guide dog, which was a nice twist. Her struggle with being raised by an older sister is also something more and more students will experience, and her attempts to make new friends and settle in to a new home will resonate with many readers.
Weaknesses: I did not find Hadley to be a likeable character at all. Yes, she was in a difficult situation, but she was very combative. I also found the use of "ain't" and phrases like "he don't" to be a bit forced and inconsistent.
What I really think: This has a great cover, and is a good dog story that was also a nice updated story like Butler's Light a Single Candle, so I will purchase it for my students, who will probably not have the same objections to it as I do.
Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment