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The Echo Park Castaways



by
M. G. Hennessey

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
HarperCollins
ISBN
9780062427694
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language, Violence: Mild Violence
$10.80   $9.00
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Nevaeh, Vic, and Mara are veterans of the Los Angeles foster care system. For over a year, they’ve been staying with Mrs. K in Echo Park. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best home they’ve found. However, living together doesn’t necessarily make them close. Mara barely speaks, Vic spends most of his time living in a dream world, and Nevaeh is forced to act as a backup parent. Still, they all have good reasons to tolerate each other, doing whatever it takes to keep Mrs. K happy.

But when Child Protective Services places Quentin in their home, everything is turned upside down. Nevaeh isn’t sure she can watch over anyone else, especially a boy on the autism spectrum. Plus, Quentin tries to run away, creating a crisis. So when Vic realizes that Quentin just wants to see his mom, he decides to help him out. This epic quest has a lot of risks, but it may just be worth it if it brings them closer. Through a whirlwind series of adventures (and misadventures), they learn that sometimes the hardest things in life are easier to face when you tackle them together.

Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language, Violence: Mild Violence

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

208

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

5.2: points 7

Lexile

780L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

11

JLG Release

Nov 2019

Book Genres

Coming of Age, Realistic Fiction

Topics

Foster children. Adventure and adventurers. Brothers and sisters. Asperger’s syndrome. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). African Americans. Hispanic and Latino Americans. Los Angeles, California.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews*

School Library Journal

Three foster siblings come together to help their newest foster brother find his mother in this heartbreaking story. Because their foster mother is too lost in her own grief to parent, eighth-grader Nevaeh cooks, cleans, and grudgingly cares for the younger children. Eleven-year-old Vic, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lives in his own imaginary world where he is a secret agent sent on elaborate spy missions. Eight-year-old Mara appears quiet and lost and refuses to speak English. This is the home Quentin is dropped into. Quentin has Asperger’s syndrome. He rarely speaks, and when he does, it doesn’t always make sense to the other children. Crowds and noise make him nervous, causing him to want to hit his head or curl up and rock. While Nevaeh resents having another foster sibling to take care of, Vic fixates on the one thing he understands that Quentin wants—to see his mother, who is in the hospital. Deciding it’s a mission only a secret agent can accomplish, Vic sneaks out with Quentin and Mara in tow on a journey to reunite Quentin with his mother. Realizing this could jeopardize everyone’s foster placements, Nevaeh sets out to retrieve them. What follows is an adventure that ultimately brings all four children together as true siblings. The story’s portrayal of Vic, a child with ADHD who often forgets his medication, feels authentic. The look inside Quentin’s thoughts, contrasted with how others perceive him, is an accurate portrayal of a child on the spectrum. The one thing that doesn’t make sense is Quentin’s entry into the family with no real explanation of his needs or plan to help him acclimate to his surroundings. Sweet and sad, but with enough action to keep realistic fiction readers invested until the end.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Three foster siblings come together to help their newest foster brother find his mother in this heartbreaking story. Because their foster mother is too lost in her own grief to parent, eighth-grader Nevaeh cooks, cleans, and grudgingly cares for the younger children. Eleven-year-old Vic, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lives in his own imaginary world where he is a secret agent sent on elaborate spy missions. Eight-year-old Mara appears quiet and lost and refuses to speak English. This is the home Quentin is dropped into. Quentin has Asperger’s syndrome. He rarely speaks, and when he does, it doesn’t always make sense to the other children. Crowds and noise make him nervous, causing him to want to hit his head or curl up and rock. While Nevaeh resents having another foster sibling to take care of, Vic fixates on the one thing he understands that Quentin wants—to see his mother, who is in the hospital. Deciding it’s a mission only a secret agent can accomplish, Vic sneaks out with Quentin and Mara in tow on a journey to reunite Quentin with his mother. Realizing this could jeopardize everyone’s foster placements, Nevaeh sets out to retrieve them. What follows is an adventure that ultimately brings all four children together as true siblings. The story’s portrayal of Vic, a child with ADHD who often forgets his medication, feels authentic. The look inside Quentin’s thoughts, contrasted with how others perceive him, is an accurate portrayal of a child on the spectrum. The one thing that doesn’t make sense is Quentin’s entry into the family with no real explanation of his needs or plan to help him acclimate to his surroundings. Sweet and sad, but with enough action to keep realistic fiction readers invested until the end.

Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
For Grades 5-8

Stories with strong, relatable characters that portray believable contemporary or historical real-life experiences.

14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year
Interests
Chapter Books/Novels,Diversity,Fiction,History,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-8
Realistic Fiction Middle Plus
14 books per Year
$235.90 per Year

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