FICTION

Raymie Nightingale

272p. Candlewick. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763681173.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 4–7—Raymie Clarke has a plan. Her father has run off with a dental hygienist without a word, but Raymie is certain that if she wins the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, her father will see her picture in the newspaper and return. To this end, she begins baton-twirling classes with two other girls, Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski. Both girls have their own reasons for entering the competition: Louisiana needs the prize money, and Beverly wants to sabotage the event. While they never actually learn to twirl, the classes are nevertheless invaluable because of the unlikely friendship the girls form. All three have lost people close to them, and each girl deals with her loss in different ways. With each small adventure, whether it's finding a lost book or rescuing a beloved pet, their friendship grows into an undeniable bond. In short, precisely crafted chapters, DiCamillo once again demonstrates her ability to create unique characters that touch readers' hearts. Raymie, in particular, is observant, thoughtful, and sensitive as she struggles to make sense of the world around her. Her story unfolds in uncomplicated prose, even as the themes explored are complex. Surrounded by the fully realized Louisiana and Beverly, not to mention the adults in her town, Raymie searches for meaning, a search that will resonate with readers.
VERDICT Poignant, insightful, and ultimately uplifting.

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