Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be published September 24th 2019 by Candlewick Press.
I read this twice because I lost the notes I made the first time. It was not a hardship. In fact, I think I enjoyed it more the second time. I suspect that if I read it again, I might appreciate it even more. I did not expect this.
In August 1979, Beverly's dog, Buddy, dies. Fourteen year old Beverly Tapinsky, overwhelmed by the empty feeling inside her, leaves home.
She catches a ride with her cousin to Tamaray Beach. Right away, thanks to the waitress, Freddie, she lands a job bussing tables at Mr C's, an ocean side fish and chip joint. Doris and Charles, who work in the kitchen, make sure that she is treated well by Freddie and Mr Denby.
Next, in the Seahorse Trailer Court, she is befriended by an elderly lady. Iola Jenkins. Iola provides a place for her to stay. In exchange for a home, Beverly just has to drive Iola where she wants to go.
At the corner store, Beverly connects with Elmer. After an inauspicious first encounter, the two become friends and romance blossoms.
Bit by bit that empty feeling inside our tough heroine is filled up with all the people she meets.
Kate DiCamillo creates characters that crawl inside your heart and fill up empty places inside you that you don't even know you have. Probably because I am a senior myself, I especially appreciate the relationship between Iola and Beverly. Both of them are vulnerable and at risk in their own way. Middle grade readers will most likely find her connection with Elmer most satisfying. The honesty between the two of them is what I would wish for them in their own relationships.
As I'm writing this review, I'm tempted to leave it and go back and devour the book again. I want to return to the honesty and tenderness of the Tamaray Beach community one more time. I'm confident I will uncover more riches if I do. Actually, I think I'll just go back and reread all the books in the Three Rancheros series again. I suspect a lot of readers will feel like this after reading Beverly Tapinsky's story.