Sunday, May 08, 2022

365 Days to Alaska, by Cathy Carr

For eleven year-old Rigel, the only life she's ever known is wild remote Alaska, but when her parents decide to divorce, Rigel and her sisters have to leave with her Mom and settle in Connecticut with her grandmother.  She hates it.  It's too crowded and loud and bright.  She has to attend a large middle school with mean teachers and meaner students.  And while she can't deny that there are some good things (like running water and lots of fresh vegetables), she misses Alaska.  She misses her Dad.

But she knows a secret.  Before she left, her Dad promised that, if she could just make it through the next year, that he would find a way to let her come back and live with him.  So now she keeps herself going by counting down the days before she can go back home.  However, as the number of days dwindle, her father becomes more distant and unreliable.  She also begins to realize that maybe Connecticut isn't so bad and that home is where you make it.

While hardly surprising material, the book charms with its main character.  Rigel is an engaging heroine with a strong will and a deep and enchanting love of nature.  Her confidence, derived from the life in the wild, serves her well in negotiating the hostile halls of middle school.  Her supportive family allows Rigel the space she needs to make the transition to the "outside" world.  Enjoyable, with lots of fun anecdotes about living in remote Alaska.

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