by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
The first things a reader might notice about this book are its chapters. There are 63 short chapters, each with a witty title such as: “The perplexing way he looked perfectly normal after being so sweaty” (chapter 36) or “The way all intelligence can leave a person’s brain when they need it most” (chapter 43). What do these seemingly unrelated titles have to do with each other? Read on.
The main character in this book is Emily Elizabeth Davis, named after the poet Emily Dickinson by her mother, an English professor, who believes her daughter’s destiny is to become a poet. In fact, her mother puts all the vital parts of Emily’s life in a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, when most parents would use a baby book. Emily, however, dislikes poetry and instead spends her days writing to Danielle Steel, one of her favorite authors, about her life and family. Emily does not know her dad, but when she finds out that her mother reveals his name in the special book of poetry, she goes to search for the book. However, it is accidentally given away to Goodwill by her cousin, Mortie, and the search to find the book, all around town, ensues.
This is where the “destiny” part of the title comes into the plot. Emily’s mother fully believes that destiny reveals itself when it is the right time. Emily is frustrated with this concept and decides to change her perfectionist habits in order to fool fate. Set in Berkeley, California, the majority of the characters are delightfully offbeat as Emily and her friends and cousin have adventures, including sleeping in trees with tree activists and joining a romance novel writing group.
Ultimately, this is a brisk read with a sweet ending.
Recommended for ages 9-12.
Reviewed by: Diana (Harrington Library)
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