Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno, 225 pages. Knopf (Random), 2018. $16.99.
Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG
BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE
AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE
Cora (12yo) and her family are homeless. Her dad died a couple of years ago and since then everything has been hard. Cora, her mom, and her sister, Adare, have stayed in several placement houses, and even a few of their friend’s houses, but nothing permanent yet. Cora’s mom said that Adare was born special so Cora’s main job is to take care of her sister. That means Cora is trying to juggle a new school, remedial math, new friends, and taking care of Adare. She is also trying to find ways to connect with her dad so she doesn’t forget him and all the things that he loved.
Such an important topic and so nicely handled. We get a glimpse of the many emotions Cora has, pressure to succeed in school, hopelessness, frustration that her mom seems to be making things harder, her inability to fix things, loneliness for her dad, confusion about her sister and so much love. Although not everything wraps up nicely, Cora does begin to realize there is still hope for the future. While I rooted for Cora and her family and wanted to love this book, it was a little light on plot and I struggled to stay engaged.