Written by Jo Knowles
Rachel’s world is changing. With her thirteenth birthday in the recent past, she finds that nothing else remains the same either. The look and feel of her beloved home, Bittersweet Farm, are changing because a couple has purchased the land across the road and built a new house. Of course, this completely disrupts their sledding hill. Rachel’s parents are going through incredibly tough financial times, meaning that the very existence of Rachel’s childhood home is in jeopardy. And Rachel is becoming more aware of her body and place in the world. She’s confused about her relationships and how her relative poverty affects those relationships. Rachel’s best friend, Micah, would like to be more than friends, but Rachel is not even sure she likes boys. She ends up helping the new neighbors take care of their farm animals, learning about responsibility and also a little about the circle of life.
The author has a definite talent for treating all the issues in Rachel’s life with deference and delicacy. Rather than advocate for any position, she poses myriad questions and lets Rachel make her own decisions. The reader sees that it’s okay to be unsure of yourself and of the future. And it’s okay to think of your own needs once in a while, as long you do think of others too.
Heartwarming and valuable story. Great in the hands of the right reader.
- Title: Where the Heart Is
- Author: Jo Knowles
- Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2019
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 305 pages
- Grade Level: 5 to 9
- Genre: Chapter book, Coming of Age
- ISBN: 978-1-5362-0003-4