LOLO WEAVER SWIMS UPSTREAM, by Polly Farquhar, Holiday House, April 25, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
A girl sets out to get her family’s dog back and gains a friend and new understanding in the process in Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream, by Polly Farquhar.
Lolo is stuck in summer school with a teacher who is out to get her while her family is still reeling from her grandfather’s death. Even his dog is mourning, howling outside all night and every night. Finally, lovable old Hank is sent to a farm across the lake that takes foster dogs.
And it’s all Lolo’s fault.
Lolo knows she has to get Hank back. In a tippy canoe, Lolo crosses the almost-dried-out lake to steal her dog back. But she runs into Noah, a student in her summer school class and Hank’s new owner—and he loves Hank as much as she does.
As Lolo’s plan unravels and her uneasy alliance with Noah grows into a friendship, the question of what’s best for Hank becomes muddier. Can Lolo manage to do the right thing—for once? —Synopsis provided by Holiday House
Lolo Weaver wears her heart on her sleeve. This vibrant protagonist who tells her story first-person style. Lolo isn’t book smart — that’s why she’s in summer school — but she cares. She cares a lot. And she’s willing to do whatever it takes to help someone she cares about. Her buoyant personality shines from beginning to end.
The other start of Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream is the setting. Author Polly Farquhar sets the stage for a hot Ohio summer. She transports readers to the mucky, smelly town where the lake has been drained to fix the dam, which was near catastrophic failure. The sights, smells and sounds are vivid. And the way the landscape and story marry is perfect.
Farquhar’s pacing is strong and her conversational, sometimes stream-of-consciousness prose is inviting. Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream is a lovely read-aloud that’s full of humor and heart.
*Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream is a Cybils-nominated book. This review is my opinion and not the opinion of the middle-grade fiction panel as a whole.
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