Vinnie Matthews needs a real lifesaver--one that will bring her father back to life and let her family go home. Living with Grandma means having to be responsible for her little brother, Mason, who refuses to speak, an dignoring the kids who ask why he's so crazy. THen Vinnie meets Lupe, the mysterious "flip-flop girl"--who might just be the friend she needs, if only Vinnie can ignore the rumors about her past.
A powerful and sensitive novel about a girl obliged to move to her grandmother's house after her father dies.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-Sorrow and loneliness sweep over Vinnie and her little brother, Mason, after their father dies and their mother moves them to a small town to live with their grandmother. Mason has been mute since the funeral, and Vinnie's mother, overwhelmed with worry about him and her struggle to support the family, seems to have nothing left to give her daughter. Thrust into a new school, without friends or the right clothes, and with rumors about her troubled brother wafting around her, Vinnie is drawn to a very tall, very odd girl who wears long dresses and orange flip-flops. Lupe is more of an outcast than she, and has suffered tragedy and rumor as well. But Lupe is strong, confident, and intuitive, and is able to offer support to Vinnie and her brother when it's needed, to stand back when it's not, and to accept whatever befalls her with grace. It's Lupe and a gentle, generous teacher who help the girl through her grief and her guilt and give her back her family. Life has been reckless with the children in this book, but Paterson has not-she's given them complex problems and personalities, compassionate adults, and a compelling story that is as strong as the power of redemptive love that prevails in this thoughtful tale.
Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
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