What It Is About: Virgil Salinas (VS) is a shy boy who doesn't have many friends and is the target of the bully. Valencia Somerset (VS) is a strong girl with definite opinions. She also happens to be deaf. Kaori Tanaka is a "fortune teller" that helps both Virgil and Valencia. Chet Bullens is the bully that doesn't make life easy for Virgil. Virgil has "admired" Valencia from a distance and can't quite seem to find the courage to approach her in any way, shape, or form. He seeks out Kaori for advice and help with this situation. Virgil works at keeping his distance from Chet, but when they cross paths in the woods; he knows he is in a heap of trouble. When Chet pulls a horrible prank with Virgil and his pet guinea pig; Virgil is left in danger and knows he can't get out of it alone. Both Valencia and Kaori play a role in trying to find Virgil before it is too late.
What I Thought Of It: A tender and special story. I enjoyed how each chapter was told from the point of view and/or about each character. This gave me an inside look into each child that played such an important role in the plot of this story. As the story progressed I was pulled into the pages more and more. The author did an incredible job of allowing me to get inside their minds and hearts. I enjoyed how each character was on a personal journey of self discovery and improvement. There were many life-lessons strewn throughout the pages which made me pause, think, and reflect. Some beautiful writing in this novel.
Who Should Read It: This book should definitely be shared with young readers in grades four, five, and six. In my opinion it would make for such a strong read aloud because there is so much suspense in the story. It would have listeners on the edge of their seats. I can also see individual readers in these grades handling it with ease on their own. I also lean toward a class read aloud because there would be so many moments where a deep and meaningful conversation could be had. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars