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It's 1944, W.W. II is raging. Jayna's big brother Rob is her only family. When Rob is called to duty on a destroyer, Jayna is left in their small town in upstate New York with their cranky landlady. But right before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna a secret: they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn. Rob found a little blue recipe book with her name and an address for a bakery. When Jayna learns that Rob is missing in action, she's devastated. Along with her turtle Theresa, the recipe book, and an encouraging, ghostly voice as her guide, Jayna sets out for Brooklyn in hopes of finding the family she so desperately needs.read more
Giff smoothly intertwines threads of loss, displacement, hope, family, and the soothing power of food (especially soup) in a quiet but emotionally charged novel set during WWII. Jayna-nicknamed Gingersnap by her mother, who died in a car accident along with the girl's father-feels understandably alone after her only relative, her older brother Rob, goes missing while serving in the Navy. Inspired by items from her mother's past that she finds, and urged on by the voice of a ghost, Jayna packs up the turtle she's adopted and runs away from upstate New York to Brooklyn. The ghost (who Jayna believes to be her mother) promises to help her find a family, and Giff's deft plotting leads the girl to find just that, in surprising and satisfying ways. The pacing falters occasionally-it takes Jayna a while to share information that she knows links her to the kindly bakery owner who takes her in-but Jayna's yearning to belong and desperate longing for her brother's safe return give this story its soulful core. Ages 9-12. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.