I first thought about reading this book when I helped a student request it for her summer reading assignment about ten and a half years ago. Since there was a wait list of students who needed it for their assignment, I decided not to add a hold for myself. (I thought it would be unfair to the kids who really needed it.) Every summer I thought to myself, “I need to remember to read that when summer is over.” And, every year, I’ve had such a long “to be read” pile when summer reading ended that this book was added to my “I’ll read this book someday” list. At the end of the summer this year, though, the planets finally aligned. I only had one week left before I was on vacation with my family, so I wanted an audiobook short enough that I could finish it before the week was up. Even though it was still summer reading season, this audiobook was available on OverDrive, and I went for it!
While taking a long road trip with her grandparents, Salamanca Tree Hiddle (aka Sal), tells them all about her friend Phoebe Winterbottom. Via Sal’s storytelling, we learn about how difficult it was for Phoebe when her mom suddenly took off. Though the circumstances were not the same as when Sal’s own mother left her, it was clear that talking about Phoebe’s situation helped Sal to process her own feelings. Mary Stuart Masterson’s narration was fantastic and the adventure and humor in the story helped to keep this book light when it could so easily have been a depressing read.