This easygoing, earnest story of friendship and family is set in upstate New York, but its heart is nestled deep in the mountains of North Carolina.
Ten-year-old Prairie Evers and her family have relocated from North Carolina to a farm in upstate New York, and now her Grammy, who has homeschooled Prairie all her life, has decided to return to the mountains, at least for a while. Spunky Prairie decides to fill the void her Grammy leaves behind with a flock of chickens. Soon, her parents have enrolled her in school, and Prairie has made her first real nonfeathered friend. The budding relationship between Prairie and Ivy is at the heart of this slightly offbeat, yet gratifying tale. Observing the lack of warmth between Ivy and her mother, Prairie soon learns the tragic family secrets behind the mother and daughter’s rocky relationship, and she is determined to try to help her friend find happiness. Short chapters and Prairie’s spirited narration drive the story forward. Next to Prairie, Grammy is the most interesting and well-drawn character, and readers will miss her as much as Prairie does while she’s away in the mountains.
Thoughtful readers will no doubt sympathize with Prairie’s feelings of loneliness and celebrate the new friendship she finds, even—or perhaps especially—when it gets complicated. (Fiction. 9-12)