Monday, December 14, 2015

A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi-Winget

Suddenly every part of Poppy's life is uncertain: her only relative, her grandmother, had a stroke. And then, when running away from the group home to visit Grandma Beth in the hospital, she gets lost, witnesses a burglary, and is the only one to see the guy's face when he flees.

Poppy makes an impression on the detective called to the scene, and Detective Brannigan goes out of his way to accommodate his star witness until they can apprehend the bad guy. Along the way, she even helps the police in another, unexpected way.

This is a wonderful story about a girl living on the fringes. While there's turmoil and upheaval in the story, the book isn't super scary and the message of friendship comes through strongest. There's an interesting thread about kids' desire to act out in various ways when they've lost control of their life, and it's handled honestly and realistically.

Poppy's a middle schooler, but I think this book could be read younger. It's not too scary, and the conflicts and emotional struggle will be familiar for many kids whose parents have divorced or who have lost a loved one.

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