Friday, July 20, 2018

Louisiana's Way Home: a completely biased yet totally true book review


This post is destined to be part fan girl relives awesome bookish moment and part book lover writes glowing book review, and yeah, I’m not even sorry. So, come for the fan-girl squee and stay for the book rec, okay? šŸ˜‰

In June, I travelled to a galaxy far, far away…New Orleans, which seriously is a looong way from my home on the west coast of Canada. Five airports away, as it turned out. I’ve never ventured so far from home before, but oh, was it worth it! I was there for the ALA annual conference. (I WAS AT ALA!!! Author dream-list item achieved!) I had several events scheduled, but fortunately, oh so fortunately, they didn’t conflict with when KATE DICAMILLO was signing ARCs of Louisiana’s Way Home.

Kate is one of my favourite authors. I adore her books. But I also love how she seems to see the world, and I love her views on writing for children. She’s been an inspiration to me, and I wanted to tell her so.

The line at ALA was long, of course, but it was populated with wonderful librarians to chat with, and eventually, there I was, meeting Kate DiCamillo. I blurted out some form of adoration and thanks, which she graciously received, and then she shook my hand and congratulated me on my Schneider Award for Macy McMillan, and she signed a copy of Louisiana’s Way Home for me, and that was it and it was everything. Happy happy.

I read Louisiana’s Way Home on my way home from Louisiana (ha!), and it was every bit as delightful as I’d anticipated. Now, you're probably thinking I can’t possibly write an unbiased review, given my fan-girl confession, and you're probably right. But if you’re a fan of Kate’s work, trust me…you won’t be disappointed. Louisiana’s Way Home is classic Kate DiCamillo: sad and hopeful, tender and humorous, quirky and charming. 

Here’s the blurb from Candlewick Press:
When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana's and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.) 
Louisiana’s Way Home is a story about finding your place in the world and choosing who you will be. It’s also a story about the power of generosity and kindness, which Louisiana experiences through the family of her new friend, Burke Allen. It was wonderful spending time with “wily and resilient” Louisiana (after first meeting her in Raymie Nightingale). Yes, you have to suspend disbelief, particularly when it comes to Granny's actions, but I was absolutely okay with that. Both the voice and the story itself are unique, quirky, and compelling, and it all comes together in a perfect, hug-the-book-then-read-it-again ending – exactly what you’d hope for and expect in a Kate DiCamillo book. Highly recommended (obviouslyšŸ˜‚). 

Release date: October 2, 2018

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