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Friday, March 30, 2018

Three Pennies, written by Melanie Crowder. Atheneum, Simon and Schuster. 2017. $10.99 ages 10 and up

"And so, she dialed the doctor. The woman had crisp, concise answers to Gilda's queries. There was no wheeze or other detectable frailty, and no ready distractions. There were, however, an array of available dates on which she could accommodate a home visit. Gilda made the appointment and set the telephone down. Sheila had starred the doctor's profile before she left ... "

The characters- Marin Greene, Summer Greene, Dr. Lucy Chang, Gilda, Owl, the Tectonic Plates. The setting is San Francisco and its surrounding sea and high cliffs, where those shifting tectonic plates are threatening an earthquake. Other objects of importance are three pennies, a ceramic piggy bank with a nickel in it, and a book, the I Ching.

Beautifully connected in short, character driven chapters. this is an exquisitely told story. Readers will make an immediate connection with Marin, a foster child who has learned in the seven years she has been moved from one family to another that she may never be adopted. The truth is that she doesn't really want to be. She is sure that Summer will come back for her, and it all has to do with the I Ching her mother left with Marin when she abandoned her. Marin was four then; now, she is eleven.

Her social worker, Gilda, is a rule follower and is trying to make arrangements for Marin to be adopted by Dr. Lucy Chang. There are some concerns. But, Gilda is willing to take the time to make it work. Marin, on the other hand, sees that her chance of ever seeing her mother again will become less likely if she is legally adopted. So, she sets off to find Summer herself. It takes some detective work, but finally she knows where to look. Once reunited, she is heartbroken to learn her mother has no interest in being a mother, and doesn't want to have anything to do with Marin.

Will Lucy be allowed to adopt Marin? There is so much tension in their story, with an earthquake looming and Marin's reticence to let herself get close to anyone for fear of being rejected once again.
Owl watches over the 'hatchling' hoping to see their issues resolved.

The attention shifts from one character to another quickly. Each is part of the concern that surrounds Marin, and wants to make her life better. There is a real sense of family, support and hope. Marin is strong, resourceful and very courageous as she does her best to find her way to happiness.

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