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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Woodson Does It Again With Touching Companion Novel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: Although this review will not contain spoilers for Peace, Locomotion, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from Locomotion, its predecessor. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

After a fire kills their parents, Lonnie Collins Motion ("Locomotion") and his younger sister, Lily, are placed in foster care. Separately. Now, it's been five years since they've lived under the same roof. Maybe they never will again. Maybe Lili, with her doting new foster mama, will forget everything - her real parents, her real brother, and her real life. Lonnie can't let that happen. To help Lili remember who she really is, he's writing letters to his sister, sharing his memories, reminding her of the close, loving family of which they were both a part.

Even though Lonnie's not with his sister, he's happy enough with his own foster home. Miss Edna may be a little grouchy, but she's kind and takes good care of him. He's finally feeling comfortable living with her when the situation changes. With her son coming home from an overseas war, it's going to get a little crowded at Miss Edna's. Too crowded for Lonnie? As he fights to maintain control over his own life, Lonnie worries about his little sister, worries about forgetting, worries about being displaced once again. As he pours it all out in his letters to Lili, Lonnie's soul finds an unexpected peace - even if his happy ending isn't coming in quite the way he thought it would.

Peace, Locomotion, a companion novel to Jacqueline Woodson's award-winning Locomotion, is told with the author's trademark simple, but profound, style. Because it's composed entirely of Lonnie's letters to Lili, the story's intensely personal. The 12-year-old's love for his sister comes through loud and clear, as does his changing definition of the meaning of family and his great longing for peace. I love Woodson's books for so many reasons - this one shines because of its engaging hero, its (mostly) positive exploraton of foster care, and, of course, that unique warmth that radiates out of every novel the author writes. Like its predecessor, Peace, Locomotion is another gem from the incomparable Jacqueline Woodson.

(Readalikes: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson)

Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find

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