This book must be considered a YA novel because I found at the end of it Sharon Creech’s acceptance speech for the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, which she received when it was published back in the 90’s. It seemed plenty adult enough for me. A thirteen-year-old protagonist (Salamanca Hiddle) and her schoolmates were just fine with me.
I read this book because someone somewhere said if you haven’t read this book, you need to. So, I did. It’s about 250 pages of wonderfulness plus a really fine acceptance speech.
Salamanca happily lived on a farm in Kentucky with her mother and father, until one day her mother left, traveling to Idaho. Salamanca receives a series of postcards as her mother travels across the country, but no explanation. What in the world is going on? When the book starts, Salamanca and her father are living in Ohio in a (shudder) city, which compares unfavorably with the beloved farm. We get the backstory as Salamanca makes a cross-country trip with her quirky grandparents (Kentucky farm people). As they ride in the car, Salamanca tells the story of her school year and her new friends and neighbors to pass the time. And so the novel proceeds with alternations of adventures on the road trip and adventures with her friends. A well-crafted structure.
It’s quite heartfelt and entertaining. So, I’ll pass this along: if you haven’t read this book, you need to…