by Helen Frost

When she was eight years old, Wren was sitting in the back seat of her family’s... read more

When she was eight years old, Wren was sitting in the back seat of her family’s van while her mother ran a quick errand at a convenience store. Wren instinctively hid under a blanket when she heard gunshots, so the man who ran out of the store and stole the van didn’t notice her. Wren stayed hidden and ended up in the man’s garage, looking for a way to escape without being noticed. But someone suspected she was there: the man’s eight-year-old daughter, Darra, who heard the news reports of the missing girl and knew her father had stolen the van. Darra hid food in the garage for Wren to find. Wren eventually escaped unharmed, and Darra’s father was arrested and sent to jail. Six years later, the two girls meet at a summer camp. Neither acknowledges their shared past as their cautious interactions are recounted from both girls’ perspectives. Frost’s distinctive poetic forms offer insight into each girl’s memories and current emotions, both of which remain hidden from each other. In addition, details of the past from fourteen-year-old Darra’s point of view are revealed by reading words that stand out at the end of some lines, a poetic form Frost created for this book. The two girls gain deeper understanding of themselves and each other while taking a lifesaving class at the camp—coming to realize that their hidden actions in the past changed one another’s lives, and tentatively embracing a friendship. (Ages 11–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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