HarperCollins, 2012. 978-0064408233
Synopsis: Dinnie is in trouble: she’s been ‘kidnapped’ by her aunt and uncle and taken to Switzerland to attend an International School. Her parents are calling it an opportunity, but all Dinnie wants is to go back to the states with her family. She even tries to makes a sign for her window that says “Kidnapped” but she can’t seem to find the right word to convey her message. Then Dinnie meets Guthrie and Lila, two of the students at the school, and through their friendship she begins to see more and more opportunity in her life and more ways to feel less like a dot and more like a person.
Why I picked it up: It’s another middle school favorite I pulled off my shelf while I was reorganizing my personal library.
Why I finished it: Creech has a flair for telling the reader a story about themselves, though it might not always be seen in that way. Dinnie, like many of her other protagonists, feel that they are missing a part of their own identity, whether it be from losing a loved one, making a life change, or having the world as we know it seem to fall apart. Dinnie overhears her mother telling her aunt that she is ‘adaptable’, but Dinnie isn’t quite sure of this assertion; she just feels like a dot in a bubble, floating around above the world but never really participating in it. Guthrie and Lila have a lot to do with changing her point of view: both characters are loud, boisterous, and full of a lust for life, Dinnie’s opposites. As she copes with missing her family and figuring out where she belongs in the school, Dinnie begins to look more and more into herself. She wants to be her own person, but she’s so afraid to have her bubble burst that she is afraid to let anyone in. Part personal discovery, part letting go, Creech’s coming-of-age story reminds us that the people around us can help us shape our lives in ways we could never have imagined and that one should remember to look up rather than down.
Other related materials: Heartbeat by Sharon Creech; The Wanderer by Sharon Creech; Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech; Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech; Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech; Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech; Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath; The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron; Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm; The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen; How Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez; Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan; Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan; Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool; Blue Willow by Doris Gates; The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson; Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer; The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg; About Average by Andrew Clements, illustrations by Mark Elliott; Remarkable by Elizabeth Foley