Author: Nicole Helget
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge
This tender middle grade book covers a lot of ground from fracking and rural poverty to PTSD and grief to foster care, custody and divorce. It might seem like a lot but each issue folds into the other and the overall story provides balance and hope without shying away from tough issues that many readers will relate to.
Eleven-year-old Fern helps to feed her impoverished rural family by foraging for food in the woods outside the home she shares with her stepdad and two younger brothers. She lost her mom in a tragic accident the year before and her grandpa has been trying to get custody. When a fracking company comes to town it brings jobs, providing security to Fern’s family and her best friend, Fern must figure out how to save the forest.
As in life, there are no easy answers for Fern and while the author does simplify things to some extent, she doesn’t provide easy solutions. Great for budding environmentalists and chefs (although vegetarians beware – the woods around Fern’s house does not just provide mushrooms and nuts).