City girl or farm girl, which will Taylor choose to be? Or does she have a choice?
Twelve-year-old Taylor’s parents have uprooted her from her perfectly comfortable life in Minneapolis and planted her on a farm to raise chickens, ducks, goats and sheep. She takes on many responsibilities and chores, all presenting their own levels of grossness, and manages, mostly, to attack them with ingenuity, determination and some hilarity. But she describes herself as thoroughly discombobulated as she tries to adjust to a new school and this new, alien way of life. Unable to voice her unhappiness to her parents, she plots to sabotage her school grades and behavior to get their attention, and convince them to return to the city. Taylor tells her own story with humor and honesty, as she comes to terms with the changes in her environment and in herself. The peripheral characters are not as well drawn, however, especially her parents, who seem to make precipitous, impulsive, life-changing decisions with good intentions but little else. The other children are one dimensional as well; there’s a manipulative town girl, a teasing, irritating boy and a kindhearted farm girl. Only Taylor’s engaging, breezy narration lifts the whole above the banal.
Pleasant, but it’s all been done before. (Fiction. 10-14)