Set in Colorado, twelve year old Maddie and her friends hatch a scheme for a secret sleepover, but her friends suddenly have to cancel. Maddie decides to go ahead with her plans and enjoy an evening of snacks and solitude. But when she wakes up the next morning, she discovers she’s mysteriously all alone, left behind after her town’s been completely evacuated and abandoned due to an imminent threat.
Her only companion is the neighbor’s Rottweiler, George. Maddie must learn to survive with no power, no internet, and no way to communicate with the family that’s (unknowingly) left her behind. Facing natural disasters, looters, and wild animals, Maddie grapples with intense loneliness as the seasons pass and the thought of being rescued grows dimmer each day.
As a MG teacher, my readers love novels in verse. And they enjoy rereading them, piecing the storylines, characters, and words together that they might have overlooked on a first read. Maddie’s journey of strength and perseverance is one I think they’ll love.
The 4 star review was tough for me. I longed to give it a 5, but not knowing exactly what caused the massive evacuation left me yearning for more answers. While I know that’s not the purpose of the book, and realizing Maddie’s storyline did have closure, I wonder if middle grade readers will feel the same. (It made me think of the ending of Lisa Graff’s Lost in the Sun or Laurel Snyder’s Orphan Island in the same way).
Publishing in January of 2021, and I’ll definitely purchase to add to my MG classroom library.
*Thank you to Simon & Schuster/Aladdin for providing Middle Grade Book Village with an early copy of this novel in verse to read and review.*
Katie Reilley is a fourth and fifth grade ELA teacher from Elburn, Illinois, and a proud mom to two amazing daughters, ages 14 and 10 who has been married to a wonderful husband for 18 years. She’s a member of #bookexpedition, a group of teachers, librarians and authors who read and review ARCs and newly released middle grade books. She’s also happy to be part of the #classroombookaday community, and loves to learn alongside her students and fellow educators. She has been teaching for twenty-two years, and her passion is getting books into the hands of her students. You can find her on Twitter at @KReilley5.