Wild Blues

336p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Jun. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481491532.
Gr 5–8—When told to choose her summer adventure, Lizzie chooses her favorite place in the world—her Uncle Davy's mountain cabin and time with her best friend Matias. She would rather stay home with her mother, but her mother's cancer diagnosis and treatments means she really needs to be away for the summer. Everything begins as usual—cooking with her uncle, who works as a celebrity antiques dealer, and enjoying picnics and long conversations with Matias, who has a rare condition that causes a form of dwarfism. Then the unexpected happens. Two prisoners escape from a nearby facility and kidnap Matias. When Lizzie finds her friend missing and only one of his canes, she sets out to find him. Her worried uncle goes in search of Lizzie and Matias and soon, he too disappears. Told as a victim's impact statement, Lizzie's conversational tone to an unknown listener whose identity we discover near the end of the book relates her actions, her emotions, and her anger about what happened. Lizzie is articulate and gutsy. Kephart is at her best in this fast-paced yet introspective novel for younger tweens and teens.
VERDICT While the victim impact statement format may take a few chapters for readers to get used to, the superb writing and strong plot make this one a winner.

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