|Photo Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pub. Comp.|
The book is about Mattie, incredibly shy, who keeps moving around with her mum. She never feels like she fits in. It starts out the week before she starts at another new school. Her Uncle (Uncle Potluck - not only do I absolutely love his name, I love him as a character. He felt like someone I could walk up to and instantly be friends with) works as a janitor at her new school and she decides that she is going to be his apprentice. And then she can work with him. And she can spend time with him instead of having to go to lunch. And she won't have to be alone. And she won't have to spend time with people she won't be able to talk with who will only think she's stupid anyway.
Mattie meets her across-the-street neighbor Quincy, but doens't want to talk to her. She just wants to be alone and write about how o be a janitor. She used to write stories - but stopped after an incident with a girl from her past: Star. Through this book she is able to be okay with who she is. She is able to communicate with her mum and gain a better relationship with her. She is able to grow away from her past experiences and is able to write stories again. She is able to find a friend.
This book is absolutely beautiful. Beautifully written with a touching story and adorable characters. I've talked with some people who've said they want to read more middle grade but don't know where to start. I would suggest: start here. This story is not just for the Down Unders, but can be enjoyed by adults too. It's one of those quiet, coming-of-age stories that isn't played out in a fantasy world. There aren't giants and monsters. There's just real life. Which. Sometimes I prefer the fantasy with the monsters. Real life can be a heck of a lot scarier.
Read, read, read this story. I highly recommend it. I will definitely be looking around for A Crooked Kind of Perfect (also by Linda Urban), because I respect this author's storytelling so much.
You can buy her book at:
An Indie Bookstore near you!
Check back next week for a review on two R.L. Stine books. Plus.... *wiggles eyebrows* Maybe even a give away.