Since Macy’s Iraq War–veteran father left the family to work on a “special project,” it seems like nothing is really right in her life.
The situation is exacerbated by her other issues: her beloved nana has died, and Macy is starting seventh grade in the fall without her BFF, Twee, a Vietnamese adoptee who’s a year younger. Then she meets Ginger, an endearingly oddball older woman who is looking for her lost dog, and Switch, a young teen skateboarder who leads a mysterious life and might just be a friend. Macy learns that her dad is just 100 miles away, so she plans to sneak off on a bus to try to bring him back, but she ends up riding there in the sidecar of a motorcycle driven by Switch, who has—sort of—stolen it. There are many hints that things aren’t as they seem. Ginger is confused; is her dog really lost, or maybe he’s dead? Could Switch be the runaway foster child that Macy’s mother, a probation officer, is looking for? Clues that things were far from good with Macy’s father before he left are also abundant, and canny readers will pick up on all of this before the reveal. It hardly matters though. Driven by attractive, colorful characters, this tale is immersive and engaging. With the exception of Twee, the major characters are white.
Lively, funny, tender without being syrupy, and full of life. (Fiction. 10-14)