Where the Heart Is
Where the Heart Is
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Annotation: An unexpectedly challenging summer job and her parents' financial difficulties are further complicated by thirteen-year-old Rachel's best friend's changing feelings and her own uncertainty about whether she even likes boys.
Catalog Number: #176187
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 292 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-536-20003-4
ISBN 13: 978-1-536-20003-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018961168
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Thirteen-year-old Rachel faces uncertainties about her sexuality, her family's financial situation, and growing up in Knowles' latest. Rachel loves her best friend Micah, just not in that way. Micah might want more, but Rachel knows she will never be his girlfriend; she just wants everything to stay the same. But can a girl and a boy remain best friends when everyone is suddenly looking at everyone else as a romantic possibility? And could Rachel ever look at anyone like that? Perhaps Cybil, a girl she's slowly getting to know? Among all of these confusing questions, Rachel notices her parents becoming increasingly worried about money until the unthinkable happens: their house is foreclosed on, forcing the family to give up their beloved home. Knowles deals with specific yet relatable upheavals in a young teenager's life with nuance and understanding. Rachel's emotional turbulence, as well as her growth and change, are realistically presented. The story offers no easy answers, but plenty of hope, heart, and love. A sensitive, character-driven story about change.
Kirkus Reviews
Her 14th summer teaches Rachel the meaning of the word bittersweet.All her life she and her parents and her little sister, Ivy, who's 8, have lived in an old farmhouse they've named Bittersweet Farm, for the vines on the property that her mother makes into wreaths. It's not a working farm, but they have a big garden and an elderly rescue pony. Rachel's mother has lost her job as a school librarian, so money is tight, but Rachel is chiefly concerned with her relationship with her best friend, Micah, who would love to be her boyfriend if Rachel allowed. Rachel isn't sure of her sexuality, and she is anxious around schoolmates who are richer and more self-assured. She spends the summer at the nearby beach and caring for the animals on a rich neighbor's hobby farm. Then their family loses their home to foreclosure. Told in Rachel's authentically 13-year-old first-person voice, the story suffers from uneven pacing. At first readers are led to think that Rachel's relationships and sexuality will be the story's main focus. Whole chapters are spent describing the neighbor's farm, which turns out to be unimportant to the plot, and the foreclosure, which turns out to be the primary plot point, isn't mentioned until two-thirds of the way through the book. The economic stressors this default-white family faces are well-presented.With pleasant but meandering writing and little urgency, this one's best for character-oriented readers. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
Summer starts off with a bang for Rachel when she receives a refurbished bike for her 13th birthday, but things quickly go downhill as she confronts unwanted change. Her longtime best friend, Micah, wants more than just friendship, but Rachel doesn-t think she is attracted to any boy-or anyone at all-something that makes her feel -different.- Then there are the escalating fights between her parents about money, which are scary to both Rachel and her little sister, Ivy. If keeping Ivy distracted from family problems isn-t hard enough, Rachel-s also taking care of her neighbors- animals for the summer, and the peckish chickens and an aggressive pig might prove to be more than she can handle. In this bittersweet coming-of-age novel rooted in some of the author-s own experiences, Knowles (Still a Work in Progress) paints a down-to-earth picture of an adolescent girl who is saddled with too many responsibilities. Rachel-s anger and frustration over not being able to control her situation is as vividly expressed as her growing maturity and courage. Ages 10-14. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 47 A gently told story about tough transitions, family and sibling love and stress, and evolving friendships. Thirteen year old Rachel's summer is filled with uncertainties. Her relationship with her longtime best friend, Micah, is being tested by new crushes and jealousies, and her family is having serious financial problems and may lose their home. On top of that, Rachel is struggling to figure out what she wants from life and love. Many children will empathize with Rachel as she struggles with friendships old and new, emerging crushes, a little sister and a cranky pig, and worried, preoccupied parents. Even as Jo Knowles tackles some tough issues, especially income insecurity and loss of home, she keeps the tone quiet, warm, detailed, and often funny, leaving the reader space to work out questions and problems along with Rachel and her loved ones. VERDICT A good read for fans of Rebecca Stead and Jeanne Birdsall. Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Horn Book (4/1/19)
ALA Booklist (5/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews (4/1/19)
Publishers Weekly (4/1/19)
School Library Journal (4/1/19)
Word Count: 57,430
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 502453 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 680L
Guided Reading Level: R

If home is where the heart is, what would happen if you lost it? Compassion and humor infuse the story of a family caught in financial crisis and a girl struggling to form her own identity.

It’s the first day of summer and Rachel's thirteenth birthday. She can't wait to head to the lake with her best friend, Micah. But as summer unfolds, every day seems to get more complicated. Her “fun” new job taking care of the neighbors’ farm animals quickly becomes a challenge, whether she’s being pecked by chickens or having to dodge a charging pig at feeding time. At home, her parents are more worried about money than usual, and their arguments over bills intensify. Fortunately, Rachel can count on Micah to help her cope with all the stress. But Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means. With all the heart of her award-winning novel See You At Harry's, Jo Knowles brings us the story of a girl who must discover where her heart is and what that means for her future.

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