When 13-year-old Capistrano native Groovy’s father gets arrested, she has to face the devastating truth about her family and look for the courage to forgive.
In The Year the Swallows Came Early, debut novelist Kathryn Fitzmaurice gives us a winning protagonist in Groovy (nee Eleanor), named by her ne’er-do-well father because as a toddler she loved to dance. Now Groovy’s beloved dad has been hauled off to prison, and her salon-owner mother won’t give her a straight answer as to why.
What I liked most about Groovy was that she loves cooking. It’s a small character touch that just brings her to life, and gives Groovy something else to focus on besides the main plot of the story. It’s not just a quirky gimmick, either–Fitzmaurice really lets us understand what it is that draws Groovy to food, and makes her passion come alive. It just makes me so happy when an author makes the effort to give characters “outside interests,” so to speak. It’s sad how often this doesn’t happen.
I loved Groovy’s journey as she makes sense of what happened to her family. Her voice is winning and accessible and middle-grade readers will just love her. I’m so glad that Sally picked this book for a tour–check out the other entries!
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