I like to pay attention to what my children are reading, so when our 10-year-old declared this to be her new favorite book, I asked to borrow it. (Of course, she’s probably had 2-3 new favorites since then. I kid you not; she reads faster than me.)
As she moves into that vaguely defined genre between children’s literature and young adult fiction, it is tempting to (over)analyze her choices. Why, I found myself wondering with some regularity, did she like this one so much? Should I worry about her choice?
The book is good. Sloan is masterful when it comes to voice. At times, this reminded me of kind of a junior version of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Willow is, shall we say, quirky. Nevertheless, aside from a few reaches (the scene in the bookstore, for example), Sloan presents the story in a such a wonderfully understated way that I was willing to accept even embrace the largely stock set of characters who surround Willow.
I look forward to talking with our daughter about this one. . .