What It Is About: Annie needs a break from the "real world". Her parents take her to a vacation home away from all the stresses in the world. It is here that she meets California. California is spending the summer with her grandfather. The two girls immediately bond with each other and begin to share all their likes, dislikes, and secrets. California is on a quest to find some ponies that she is sure will reunite her mother and grandfather. She enlists the help of Annie and the two of them begin a summer of adventure and a "quest" that will change their lives forever. Annie struggles for her own "freedom" away from all the rules and her mother's strict guidelines. California struggles with the "distance" between her mother and grandfather. These young girls rely on each other to find their place in the world with the people around them. Most secrets they reveal to each other, but some they keep to themselves, which could have dire consequences.
What I Thought Of It: A sweet story. It may have started a bit slow for my tastes, but once I moved forward in the story it got stronger and stronger. I was completely hooked by the final 1/3 of the book. It was also shocking to me when certain elements of the plot were revealed. I did not see it coming. The relationship between Annie and California was written with such force, conviction, and truth. Stevenson was able to portray the true elements of a young friendship showing both the positive and negative. After reading (listening) to this story, I'm excited to read her newest novel.
Who Should Read It: The story of Annie and California needs to be in the hands of all young female readers. They will absolutely love the journey that these two girls take during one summer. The book could be read by readers in grades four, five, and six. I'm not sure about using this as a read aloud because I'm not sure the male listeners would have a great interest, but I could be wrong about this. Happy Reading!
Rating: 4 STARS out of 5 Stars