160p. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385744867; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780385744874. POP
Gr 4–7—Jubilee lives on an island with her aunt Cora. Jubilee hasn't spoken a word to any person since her mother dropped her off to live there when she was little. Instead, she communicates with gestures, taps, and drawings. A school psychologist diagnosed the girl with selective mutism. Jubilee has just started fifth grade when she meets Mason, a "sloppy kid who talks too much." They are paired together for a class project, and Mason does not mind that she doesn't talk. He encourages her to draw cartoons to use for their project. Amid the school project, the core of the story revolves around Jubilee longing to meet her mother and learn why she left. Jubilee thinks that in solving the mystery, she will get her speech back. When a birthday card for Aunt Cora arrives from her mother, Jubilee discovers that her mom has moved back to the mainland nearby. Giff pens an emotionally sweet, heartfelt novel of not only friendship but also longing and hope as Jubilee carves her own path. Her bond with Mason and his acceptance of her give her strength and bolster her determination to do what it takes to make her dreams come true. They share a gentle, tender bond that will have readers rooting for both of them.
VERDICT A poignant tale of family, friendship, and inner courage. A wonderful addition to middle grade collections.

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