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Monday, June 8, 2015

The Secret Hum of a Daisy, written by Tracy Holczer. Puffin, Penguin. 2015. $9.99 ages 10 and up

"The dream was familiar. Though, Mama wasn't sitting on the slab of rock in the middle of the river. She sat cross-legged on the short, rocky beach, wings spread wide. The cranes were there on the bank, the way they had been the morning she died. She reached her hand out to me, but no matter how many steps I took, I couldn't get to her ... "

Grace hates the river. After an argument about moving, her mother went for a walk and didn't come back. Grace found her body by that river following an accidental drowning. Now, she has been sent to live with her maternal grandmother, a woman she has never really known. Grace is sure she can find a way back to the last home she and her mother shared with  the Greenes - a place where they had been happy and loved. Grace and her mother could not find the perfect place, despite so  many attempts.

Grace wants a home - a permanent place to live after too many moves in her short life. She doesn't want it to be with her grandmother, despite all the signs that life could be good there. She has great integrity as does her grandmother. She just cannot see that, without bias. Her grandmother is also honest and full of regret for events of the past.

As Grace follows clues that she is sure are being left by her mother, her grandmother shows an abundance of patience and understanding. While letting her granddaughter make decisions that are not necessarily the best ones, she wants Grace to find comfort with her. As Grace does her best to make her grandmother send her away, she shows readers how smart and perceptive she is. She is filled with sadness, as well. Only as time passes does Grace make new discoveries about her family; then, they are able to find a place of peace.

The story is told brilliantly; it is a stellar debut novel for Tracy Holczer. There are no simple answers or solutions to the situation Grace and her grandmother must accept. With hard work and a growing trust they are able to find balance in this new life that they will lead together. Tenderly told, and with great heart, readers will not soon forget these amazing characters.

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