What a fantastic read. This story was more entertaining than I had anticipated as it has interesting characters with captivating storylines. I enjoyed the character of Gwyn as she was a spunky, sassy ten-year old who I found, was unpredictable. As her family moves to Iowa to try to help her mother, Gwyn discovers just because Iowa has small town living, doesn’t mean it is short on adventure.
Gwyn’s father is hoping that moving to Iowa will help his wife who has a brain injury. As the family moves in with Nana, into their mother’s old childhood home, mother moves into a care center in town. With familiar faces and sights surrounding them, the town offers the family comfort and history. As Gwyn and her sister Bitty make new friends, they find that the connections that they are now making were once friends with her parents or they were somehow connected to her parents. This is definitely not like New York where they had come from.
When Wilbur goes missing, Gwyn puts on her mystery hat and she becomes Nancy Drew. She starts her own investigation because she feels that there’s not enough being done to resolve Wilbur’s whereabouts. As Gwyn investigates, she discovers other information about individuals in her life, information that gets Gwyn thinking. Gwyn never thought living in Iowa would be this interesting.
I loved all the characters and the energy they added to the novel. Gaysie was a handful, the more I read about her, the more I started to understand her yet I wondered who else in the town really understood her. The Christmas gift that Gwyn got from Gaysie was priceless and that gift surprised me. Chapter #13 had to be one of my favorite chapters. I was having a good time as I laughed, was alarmed, was surprised and just kept on reading as this chapter thrilled me. I was touched by Bitty and Gwyn’s unspoken code. They warranted the code, as it was one of the benefits of Vienna being their mother, “benefits.” I liked that.
I think this would be a great read aloud and definitely a book to share in the classroom. I really enjoyed it.
“Sometimes quiet Iowa was way scarier than cray, loud New York ever was.”