Even when dreams do come true, they might not look exactly as imagined.
When narrator and native New Hampshirite narrator Ruby and Eleanor, whose family has emigrated from Sri Lanka, visit a fortuneteller for a free reading, they are thrilled with the very nonspecific fortunes they hear and immediately embark on a plan to make those fortunes come true. Ruby's greatest wish is to go to the Snow Ball Dance with her crush, JB Knox, and Eleanor would do anything for a sewing machine. What they don't foresee, however, is how their lives will change in other ways beyond the fulfillment of their dreams. Even when their dreams look like they're never going to be realized, their close friendship saves them from hopelessness. Atkinson offers two adorable characters who are as different as they are brave and builds a sweet tale of inspiration and triumph over factors usually far beyond kids' control. The author tackles multiculturalism, socioeconomic disparity, disabilities, and healthy eating in one book, which sometimes feels like a mouthful, but Ruby is engaging enough that it's hard to be distracted from her glass–half-full enthusiasm for life. Sometimes the life lessons found here are too glaring though far from invalid: “I understood now that different families and cultures have different ways of doing things, but that didn't make one way better than the other.”
A pleasant romp through a winter of contentment. (Fiction. 9-12)