STEALING OUR WAY HOME by Cecilia Galante, Scholastic Press, June 27, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Lately there have been a number of strong middle-grade novels published that deal with the loss of a parent. Stealing Our Way Home, by Cecilia Galante, is one such book.
Jack and Pippa’s mother was the glue that held their family together. After she died last spring, everything changed — Pippa stopped talking and Jack started getting in fights. Then their father’s business began to fail.
Now it’s fall, and the two siblings have to navigate through school. By now, most people expect them to have moved on, but it’s not that easy. Giving a class presentation on Spartan warriors is going to be difficult for a girl who can’t even talk with those she loves most. And Jack is entering that time in life where feelings for girls are more confusing than ever.
School, however, is the least of Jack and Pippa’s worries. Cash is getting low. Sometimes there’s no electricity. Jack and Pippa’s dad is getting desperate, and the two siblings are starting to realize their dad’s actions are most likely illegal and quite possibly dangerous. But at what point do you turn on the very person who is trying to keep your family together.
Cecilia Galante excels at getting into her character’s heads. And in the case of Stealing Our Way Home, that means sharing the story from both Jack and Pippa’s points of view. Balancing male and female characters of different ages can’t be easy, but Galante manages to fully develop both of their voices with apparent ease.
While on its face, Galante’s plot seems somewhat improbable — their father robbing banks to pay the bills — it doesn’t feel that way. Galante has built a world that is not only believable, but feels immediate and immersive.
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