Holly Goldberg Sloan
2013 (Ages 10 and up)
I LOVE WILLOW CHANCE! (This is how I envision my niece starting a review of this book from the Penguin Young Readers Group.) Willow is a very bright young lady, who observes the world with adult aplomb.
Orphaned as a baby, she is adopted by a lovely couple. Their family will exist for a brief but meaningful time. Willow knows she is loved. So as she navigates the world once her parents are gone, she stays very anchored in herself. This will help her appreciate the cast of characters, who center her life, as she heads down a new path.
Set in Bakersfield, CA, everyone is an immigrant in the town in some way. They are all trying to fit into American life and find community. They include a cab driver, a nail salon owner and a student counselor that sums up everything that is wrong with school administrations. This vivid cast of characters make the story so enjoyable--even when there are a few weaknesses in the overall story. You will laugh out loud at Willow's dead on interpretation of how and why people behave.
Get this book for the oddball in your life, but read it yourself first. You'll be glad you've met Willow Chance.
Holly Goldberg Sloan, sold her first screenplay at 24 but then survived as advertising copy writer until her film career gained momentum. She wrote the screenplay for "Angels in the Outfield" and "Made in America." Her first book is I'll Be There and is also for younger readers.