Wendy Lamb Books, 2013. 978-0385739566
Synopsis: Fourth grader Odessa Green-Light lives with her mom and her toad of a little brother, Oliver. Her dad is getting remarried, which makes no sense according to Odessa. If the prefix “re” means “to do all over again,” shouldn’t he be remarrying Mom? Meanwhile, Odessa moves into the attic room of their new house. One day she gets mad and stomps across the attic floor. Then she feels as if she is falling and lands . . . on the attic floor. Turns out that Odessa has gone back in time a whole day! With this new power she can fix all sorts of things–embarrassing moments, big mistakes, and even help Oliver be less of a toad. Her biggest goal: reunite Mom and Dad. – from Amazon.com
Why I picked it up: Who wouldn’t want to go back in time to fix embarrassing moments or get in some extra studying for a test?
Why I finished it: Divorce is a topic near and dear to me because my own parents are divorced and I never had books when I was younger that really dealt well with the topic. Reinhardt does a great job of exploring the frustrations of children in newly divorced families and the adjustments that have to be made to make everything feel more normal again. On one hand Odessa wants things to change: she wants to be able to have her own room, she wants her friend Claire to talk to her again, she wants cute Theo to notice her, and she wants her brother to be less annoying. On the other hand, she wishes things had stayed the same: mom and dad living together in the same house, not mom in one house and dad and his new fiancé Jennifer in another. Odessa’s new-found power to go back in time at decreasing intervals initially begins as a somewhat selfish endeavor, but the power of a do-over inspires Odessa to help her brother and to realize the importance of being there for her younger sibling as he goes through the same frustrations. I liked the honesty of Odessa’s character, her desire to do the right thing (mostly), and even if the reader is not familiar with divorce, they can definitely relate to the struggles in her school life. Her friends Sophia and Claire contrast nicely and provide a good outlet for Odessa as she figures out what to do about her brother, her parents, and the secret floorboards in the attic. This book is a wonderful first venture into tween literature and I look forward to see if there will be any more.
Other related materials: Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder; Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan; Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff; Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo; A Smart Girl’s Guide to Her Parent’s Divorce by Nancy Holyoke; It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume; Hatchet by Gary Paulsen; What in the World do you do When Your Parents Divorce?: A Survival Guide for Kids by Kent Winchester; Homesick by Kate Klise; Sister of the Bride by Beverly Cleary; Strider by Beverly Clearly, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky; My Parents Are Divorced Too: A Book by Kids for Kids by Melanie Ford, Steven Ford, Annie Ford, and Jann Blackstone-Ford, illustrated by Charles Beyl; Divorce is not the End of the World: Zoe and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids by Zoe & Evan Stern