Hope in the Valley

Farrar. Jul. 2023. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374388508.
Gr 3-7–American Indian and newly 13, Pandita Paul is growing up in 1980s Silicon Valley. She doesn’t like change and is less than thrilled to be starting eighth grade in the fall. She just wants to spend the summer on the porch of the abandoned mansion nearby, writing poetry and letters to her dead mom. Pandita’s older twin sisters, Shar and Indy, aren’t necessarily on board with “Operation Remember Ma.” Shar announces the nonprofit where she works has plans to sell and demolish the nearby property and orchard to build affordable housing, and Pandita is heartbroken. A rift forms between town members and family members alike. Some want the property preserved, while others see the changes more positively. At Drama Camp, Pandita meets a new boy in town, Leo, who plays guitar and is cast as the lead in The Sound of Music. When Baba, her father, considers dating, Pandita sees this as a further threat to her mom’s memory. Then she finds out Leo’s family may have to leave Sunny Creek due to lack of affordable housing, and Pandita must look inside herself to consider whether change can sometimes be positive. Perkins explores topics that were relevant both then and now, including racism, housing inequity, and activism on a level that young readers will be able to comprehend and learn from. Will Pandita be able to find her voice, speak up to preserve history, perform in the musical, and help bring her community together?
VERDICT Perkins explores matters of grief, growing up, and multigenerational relationships in a moving novel that will resonate and linger with readers long after the last beautiful page.

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