“What if you could just invent your family, your home, your life?”
There are times 13-year-old Lynn wishes she could do just that—like right now. Her feckless, New Age–y mom has just ended her relationship with solid, dependable Clive, lost her job and, worst of all, totally forgotten to get Lynn’s passport, so Lynn can’t go to Choirfest in Portland. Marooned without her BFFs, the Vancouver teen finds an unexpected friend in Blossom, a mysterious girl who saves her with the Heimlich at a bus stop. She leads Lynn down something of a rabbit hole to her home—a cozy, makeshift shelter in a park—where she lives with a dog, her two brothers and a man called Fossick, who is not her father legally or biologically but who is thoroughly devoted. Ellis tackles big themes—loyalty, legality, responsibility, family—with a sure, steady hand, allowing Lynn and readers to see the contrast between her situation and Blossom’s and to consider the many threads of relationship that make a family. Both girls’ homes and security are tenuous, though in very different ways, and both are effectively powerless. As Lynn falls in love with the magical, quasi-legal underworld that Blossom inhabits, layers of betrayal threaten it, and everyone shares culpability.
More than a thoughtful ode to found family, this slim, sweet novel challenges readers to look anew at the ones they have. (Fiction. 10-14)