One day, shortly after she buries her beloved dog, 14-year old Beverly Tapinski simply leaves home. She catches a ride up the highway to Tamaray Beach with nothing but the clothes on her back and the flip-flops on her feet. She finds a job bussing dishes at the local fish restaurant (even though she hates fish). She finds a place to stay in a trailer park with a lonely old lady. And for a while, she manages to carve out a small place for herself in a world she has learned is largely composed of sadness and meanness.
I love the way DiCamillo doesn’t soft-soap anything — she doesn’t pretend that bad parents and bad situations don’t exist. Beverly’s mother really doesn’t care that her daughter is gone — she is far more interested in her next drink. This sweet, but never sappy, book follows Beverly as she finds her own moral strength and some spots of beauty in the world including some people who do look out for each other and care, even about strangers. I found it to be moving and heartfelt.
For those of you familiar with other DiCamillo books, Beverly was first featured as a side character in Raymie Nightingale.
Thank you to Candlewick Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on September 24th, 2019.