A kiss on the palm is at once simple and full of emotion, meaning, magic, and…wonder.
MacLachlan’s latest, too, offers much promise and wonder while also conjuring memories and dreams. Eleven-year-old (almost 12) Louisiana, nicknamed “Louisa,” and her brother, Theo, travel to the tiny island where their paternal grandparents, Boots and Jake, live, same as every summer. Louisa does not like change, and her erudite younger brother craves the stability of Boots and Jake’s quiet island refuge. Both children live with the gnawing uncertainty of life with bird-watching parents struck by wanderlust. This summer, however, is different. Jake is losing his eyesight. And Louisa meets George. Through these two changes, MacLachlan delivers a sweet, evocative tale of love young and old, the entrenched and enduring paired with the new and tenuous. Her prose is stunningly extravagant in its sparseness, painting a watercolor canvas of emotion with the barest of strokes. Each simple word glides easily to the next, making this a prose poem of discovery told as a story of interconnected lives and feelings. “Why,” Louisa asks herself,” when I look in the mirror now, do I suddenly look beautiful for the very first time in my life?” Louisa and her family are white, and George, the son of a Tanzanian immigrant and an American aid worker, is black.
This book clings to the heart and echoes in the soul for days. (Fiction. 8-12)