The premise: Cally's mom died one year ago, but Cally's dad still won't talk about her. And one day Cally sees her mom. Not a scary, strange, ghostly figure -- just . . . her mom, dressed in raincoat and rain hat. Each time Cally sees her, a big dog is with her too, but no one believes Cally, so Cally quits talking.
What keeps readers reading: The friendship Cally develops with a (mostly) blind and deaf boy named Sam. Sam 'sees' and 'hears' differently than other people, and Cally trusts that he sees and hears her mom. Sam also knows there's something important about the wolfhound and homeless man that keep popping up, too. Cally and Sam need to make it all make sense.
What I loved: The realness of each characters' struggles. Cally, her brother, and her dad. Sam and his mom. Jeb, the homeless man. Each has real hurts, real problems, and needs real rescue. But I super-love that a dog brings everyone together and rescues each in the way they need it.
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Happy middle grade reading!