FICTION

Caleb and Kit

256p. Running Pr. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780762462230.
COPY ISBN
Gr 4–7—Constrained by his family's concern and his cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs, 12-year-old Caleb longs to enact the bold declaration, "I do what I want." He skips out of his summer camp (all the better to avoid his cranky classmate, Shelly) to meet fae-like Kit in the woods. The magical world Kit draws him into at first feels like just the adventurous release from obligations and boredom that Caleb needs. However, he soon finds that he must face questions about how healthy their friendship is. Caleb is an exquisitely imperfect protagonist whose problematic decisions make him likable, particularly as he attempts to resolve his predicaments. The supporting characters are finely crafted as well, from Caleb's caring mom, who reawakens with the advent of a new boyfriend, and his highly talented, dutiful older brother to his absent dad and finicky stepmother. A beautiful metaphor of two trees delicately bending away from each other as they grow, in order to thrive, illuminates the future of Caleb and Kit's passionate friendship. Vrabel weaves all these elements into a story reminiscent of Katherine Paterson's classic Bridge to Terabithia that highlights day-to-day life with a common but devastating disease.
VERDICT Hand to readers looking for a novel about both the magic and the pain of friendship. A solid purchase for most collections.

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