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March 2023

Looking for a fresh start, Travis and his father moved to a tiny town in Newfoundland.  Travis’ father immediately settles into his role as the town doctor, but Travis, still grieving over the loss of his mother, struggles to find his place.  When a bully marks Travis as his target on Travis’ first day of school, Travis knows that his new town will never be home.  But then Travis discovers a group of wild cats, who will certainly freeze to death during the fierce Canadian winter…unless Travis can figure out a way to help them.

Travis’ battles–to make friends, save the cats, defeat the bully, conquer his grief and find a home–drew me in immediately.  Readers of all ages will relate to this book, but middle school boys in particular will devour MacLean’s first book.  AND, I just discovered that MacLean wrote a follow-up book about one of the female characters, Prinny Murphy.  How cool would it be for the girls in a 6th grade class to read Prinny’s story and the boys to read Travis’ story?  Or better yet, the girls can read from the boys point-of-view, and the boys can read from the girls’.

Evie and her family abruptly leave their New York home for an unexpected Florida vacation. While at first Evie believes that the family is merely celebrating her father’s safe return home from World War II Europe, she soon realizes that something is wrong. Secrets and lies are swirling all around her. But does Evie really want to know the truth, or will she allow herself to be blinded by her love of Peter, the handsome soldier who served with her father, followed her family to Florida, and is hiding a secret that can destroy them all?

I can’t say enough good things about this book.  It has so much going for it–accurate and interesting historical setting, real mother-daughter interactions, suspense, love, betrayal, moral dilemmas.  This is a quality and timeless historical fiction novel, and its themes of truth and betrayal will appeal to readers of all ages.