When Jade arrives in Wyoming for her summer vacation, she is in for a life-changing experience.
Jade is used to quiet summer vacations in Philadelphia. But this year, her parents pack her off to Wyoming to have an adventure with eccentric Aunt Elise. That’s where Jade meets Joshua Parker, a boy who thinks he’s descended from Butch Cassidy (whose real name was Roy Parker, so the boy insists on being called Roy). Roy wants to replicate Butch Cassidy’s Robin Hood ways by robbing a bank to help his parents regain their business. Jade is willing to help but prefers more law-abiding methods, such as hosting stargazing parties on Aunt Elise’s roof. Drawing on rich Western lore and creating characters as gritty as the earth itself, Hilmo paints a picture of a town where everyone is connected. Folks old and young prove themselves able to weather the storms—both literal thunderheads and the hardships of life—while maintaining hopeful hearts as expansive as the sky. Most refreshing: Parents, caregivers and other adults in the neighborhood only appear to be leaving the children to their own devices. In reality, they keep a loose rein, respectfully giving Jade and Roy some independence in recognition that the real adventure in life is the process of becoming.
A heartening, comforting story with enough tension to keep readers hooked and a subtle message that will sneak up on them. (Fiction. 8-12)