A young Idaho girl tries to save her family’s farm.
Since her father’s death, 12-year-old Paige has been taking on all the farm chores, determined to keep her father’s regular farming schedule. When her mother and grandfather bring in a real estate agent to try to sell the farm, Paige enlists her younger brother, Scotty, and some friends to try to sabotage the sale of the farm. Simultaneously, a wounded peacock shows up on the farm, which Paige and Scotty secretly nurse back to health. Heartfelt and funny, the story captures the lives of often underrepresented farming families, and though the trope of children scheming to save something beloved that’s in peril through hijinks and humor is familiar, it engages in a deeper discussion of the threat development poses to farmland. The story is set on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation in southeastern Idaho; Paige, who is white, is best friends with Kimana, a Shoshone-Bannock girl who’s also her robotics partner, and Mateo, who is Latinx and whose family owns the neighboring farm. All characters are fully realized, and the book offers authentic views of rural kids navigating long distances between friends’ houses on dirt bikes and to and from school via bus as well as some very visceral calf birthing. Swore, who lives on the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, includes brief narratives from two Shoshone-Bannock friends in her author’s note; there is no mention of the catastrophic Dawes Act of 1887, which enabled non-Natives to buy property on tribal lands, however.
An impressive tale carrying universal themes of grief, change, and letting go. (Fiction. 8-12)