Posted by Venus on Monday, May 9, 2016
Labels: intermediate book review
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 5, 2016
After the terrible loss of her mother, Inge Marie is sent to live on the tiny island of Bornholm in Denmark. Her grandmother is stern and seems upset by Inge Marie's eccentricities, like talking to inanimate objects. Inge is desperate for her grandmother to be proud of her and so she tries to be the dutiful granddaughter, but sometimes it is so hard to behave. Perhaps mischief is exactly what this little island needs though.
I am not entirely sure what I expected when I started this book. Based on the cover, I think something Pippi Longstocking-esque based on the cover and setting perhaps. There was definitely some Pippi Longstocking-like shenanigans going on, but there was also a great deal of pathos that made the story beautifully heavy in places. Inge desperately missed her mom and although she is moving on with her life, that longing doesn't go away overnight. There were numerous time throughout the book where I teared up or full on cried as Inge comes to terms with the loss of her mother. There is also this wonderful character in the grandmother who may seem rather stern in the beginning, but as the story continues one can see the twinkle in her eye before Inge is even aware of it. The grandmother has the nickname of Dizzy and it turns out that Inge and her grandmother may have a lot more in common than Inga first thought. There is also an additional storyline that deals with what happens to orphaned children that don't have a safety net and how they need a family too.
As I have said before, because my husband and I are in the middle of the adoption process, I am much harsher on books with adoption themes. This book was perfect in that respect. It deals with the loss, doesn't shy away from issues, shows different types of adoption, and still had a wonderful story behind it full of fun mischief and a wonderful little girl. And for the modern American reader, it is just distant enough from our home and time period to not be so immediate for children who may be dealing with the same issues.