Annie's Life in Lists

272p. Knopf. May 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524765095.
Gr 3–6—Annie, who feels out of the ordinary due to her exceptional memory and shyness, loves making lists so much that she keeps a notebook full of them with her all the time, organized by month. Annie's family moves from Brooklyn to Clover Gap, population 8,432. As Annie's parents adjust to home ownership and her father to a new job, Annie must find her place at her new school and learn how to get by without her best—and only—friend, Millie. Over the course of the novel, Annie uncovers the real reason her family moved, struggles to find her place in a new group of friends, and earns herself a bit of celebrity during the town's annual Clover Fest. Mahoney's novel is literally written in lists, all of which have their own titles, some with a sentence or a few paragraphs of explanation after. Annie's humor, empathy, and frankness shine through in her engaging narrative. Every character has its own distinct presence on the page, and the individual conflicts help each one feel fully developed and unique. The plot moves at a steady pace and a subplot addresses racism. While the ending is almost too neat, readers will find themselves cheering for Annie, her friends, and her family.
VERDICT Even with its imperfections, the format, featuring illustrations throughout, will make it a great choice for reluctant readers.

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