Two girls, one a human and one a Yare, or Bigfoot, feel that they don’t fit in with their families and communities.
Aside from the fact that they are all white, large, 12-year-old Alice, with her hugely unruly hair, looks quite different from her beautiful, distant parents. She’s been mocked and bullied at all seven schools she’s attended. When her parents send her to the Experimental Center for Love and Learning in upstate New York, things seem to be different. The school lies in a beautiful setting near a forest and a lake—across which lives Millie, a very small Yare child. The Yares, known to humans as Bigfoots, live in secret, constantly fearful that humans will discover, then kill or imprison them. Millie, however, wants to learn about the No-Furs, cherishing a desire to become a singer in the No-Fur world. Inevitably, Millie and Alice become friends, but it leads to discovery of the Yares. Will the Yare community be forced to move to escape the humans? Or can Alice and Millie find a way to keep the secret? Weiner writes an engaging tale that helps children to understand both bullying and the difficulties faced by people who in some way deviate from the norm. She alternates the narrative between Alice and Millie, giving the Bigfoots humorously distinctive vocabulary: “snackle” for “snack,” for instance, and “a straightness” for “straight.”
Enchanting right up to the sequel-beckoning end. (Fantasy. 8-12)