Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Julia Gillian (And the Dream of the Dog) (MG)

Julia Gillian (And the Dream of the Dog). Alison McGhee. Illustrated by Drazen Kozjan. 2010. July 2010. Scholastic. 336 pages.

Welcome to sixth grade," said Mr. Lamonte. "We have a great many forms to fill out, so let's get started, shall we?"

Julia Gillian (And the Dream of the Dog) is the third in the Julia Gillian series by Alison McGhee. The first two are Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) and Julia Gillian (And the Quest for Joy). I love Julia Gillian. I love her best friend, Bonwit Keller. I love her dog-of-my-dreams, Bigfoot. I love how connected she is with her parents, her neighbors, her community, her school.

Julia Gillian is still uncomfortable with change. She's learned the best way is to move forward, to work past the fear, the anxiety. But it doesn't always make it easier in-the-moment. Her sixth grade teacher has introduced Julia to the concept of controlling variables. And Julia Gillian has taken his words to heart in just about every area of her life. From how to best avoid the Crazy Eights (eighth graders), to how to take care of her aging dog. Yes, Bigfoot, is getting older. And slower. And Julia Gillian isn't ready for what's coming. (I wasn't either.)

I loved this one. It was bittersweet. I have to warn you. But it was good, very good. It not only made me cry, it kept me crying. The last couple of chapters it was impossible to read without tears. To read her project for the Reading Buddy Extravaganza, it was definitely emotional!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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