Skies like These
by Tess Hilmo
Intermediate Ferguson/Farrar 233 pp.
7/14 978-0-374-36998-9 $16.99 g
e-book ed. 978-0-374-36999-6 $9.99
Adventurous is the last word twelve-year-old Jade would use to describe herself — prudent would be closer to the mark — but that’s about to change. Though she’s always enjoyed her uneventful summers at home in Philadelphia, her parents have shipped her off to Wyoming to visit her aunt — and the first friend Jade makes there insists she help him rob a bank. Neighbor boy Roy Parker, who worships (and believes he’s related to) Butch Cassidy, wants some quick cash so his parents can reopen their hardware store, and he envisions Jade as his Sundance Kid. Though Jade’s summer adventures don’t end up including larceny, she does find herself being unexpectedly brave and resourceful, taking actions with invaluable consequences for her aunt, for Roy, and for his parents. With Jade’s guidance and good ideas, her aunt finds the perfect way to share her love of stargazing with the community, Roy’s mother enters a cowboy-poetry contest to show her son how proud she is of him, and Roy discovers a hero (and actual blood relation) worthy of his adulation. Hilmo’s small-town setting is affectionately portrayed, as are her characters — all of whom, even the owner of the new big-box home improvement store, turn out to have hearts of gold. Though much quieter than Hilmo’s debut novel With a Name like Love (rev. 11/11), this follow-up is no less uplifting or sincerely told.
From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.