Beverly, Right Here

Candlewick. Sept. 2019. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763694647.
Gr 5-7–Readers first met Beverly Tapinski when she entered the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition with Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana Elefante. Beverly is now 14. Her dog Buddy has died, and Beverly feels like she has been left behind by everyone--her dad, Louisiana, and now Buddy. So she leaves, too, and goes to Tamaray Beach. She gets a job at a restaurant, is taken in by a kind old lady, and makes friends with the cashier of Zoom City. But eventually she realizes she left behind Raymie, and that hurts more than she can stand. In her signature style of short, accessible prose sprinkled with carefully chosen, meaningful words, DiCamillo once again tells extraordinary stories with ordinary characters. This is a multilayered story of hope, from Iola who wants to win a turkey from the VFW Christmas in July, to Freddie who has big dreams, to Elmer who loves art and poetry and wants to be an engineer, to Beverly herself, who just wants things to be different than they are. Beverly acts tough and uninterested, but underneath she is tender and vulnerable. 
VERDICT This is not a lighthearted book, but it is heartwarming and touching. Highly recommended

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