Curiosity inspired Truus Matti to write her debut novel, in which two stories—one fantastic, the other realistic—intertwine. Told in alternating chapters, the book begins with a third-person account of a girl named Mouse, who arrives at a dilapidated hotel run by a fox and a rat, unable to remember her past. “I wrote…the first scene in the book more or less by accident; it came out of nowhere, and I had no idea what it was about,” says Matti. “The girl made me want to know who she was and what she was doing…So I followed her to find out.” That girl led Matti to the novel’s second plot line, told in the first person by a girl who makes her father promise to come home for her 11th birthday. When he doesn’t, the girl writes him a scathing letter only to learn that he died while touring with his orchestra. Sharing themes of letters and classical music (“Bach came in because when I was writing,” says Matti, “there was a lot of renovating going on in my building so I had to try and concentrate with music”), the stories gradually merge into what Kirkus called, in a starred review, “a poignant journey from anger to acceptance.”


Kirkus found quite a few novels with great girl characters to include among our Best Children's Books of 2010. To see them all, click here.

The Harry Potter series may be finished, but that doesn't mean there is no great fantasy and science fiction for kids. Click here for all the titles that made our 2010 Best list.

Pub info:

Departure Time

Truus Matti

namelos / August / 9781608980871; 9781608980093 / $18.95; $9.95 (paperback) / ages 10 & up