Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Lifters

There are plenty of sad middle grade novels, but there aren't that many about the concept of sadness. Leave it to Dave Eggers to write a novel that makes sadness okay, while offering hope.

The plot instantly engages: Gran and his family move to a new town where there are frequent sinkholes and a lot of sadness; somehow, the two are connected. Gran and his new friend Catalina Catalan need to figure out a way to hold everything together. Their solution involves handles, carousel horses, and borrowing an old wheelchair.

The Lifters is strange and sweet, and full of nuggets like, "...when someone asks if you trust them, it usually means they're about to do something that will make you reassess that trust." You can tell that Eggers has children and knows young readers (from his work with 826 National) because there is so much thought put into this novel: there is an illustration on every other page to break up the text, the chapters are short, and the characters are relatable. The Lifters is a stand-alone novel, which is perfect, but I hope it isn't Eggers' last middle grade novel. Young readers deserve books like this. 

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