Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Maybe A Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

No matter how fast Sylvie, 12, can run, she always wishes to be faster. Faster than the fastest racehorse. Faster than a speeding bullet. Faster than the speed of sound. So fast she can... Well, Sylvie never speaks her reason out loud. Even when her little sister Jules presses her for an answer. She does, however, write these wishes on Wish Rocks, which she throws into the nearby river. A river so dangerous the girls' father warns them never to go near it. Ever.

But does Sylvie listen? No.

One snowy morning, Sylvie doesn't return from her secret trip to the river. Could she have moved so fast Jules missed her return? No. Readers will learn that Sylvie slipped on a patch of snow and fell into the river. 

But at the exact moment Sylvie drowns, a fox cub is born. But not just any fox cub. Senna is special. She is "Kennen," meaning she is a spirit animal born with an important purpose. And the reader later learns that purpose is Jules. But why? 

Right away, we see that Maybe A Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee deals with some pretty heavy topics: The sisters lost their mother at a young age. Jules loses Sylvie. And other characters experiences losses as well. Maybe A Fox sounds like a very depressing book, indeed! But that's just it: It isn't depressing. Sure, it's sad. But it's also filled with mystery and the hope that things will get better. And things do.

Personally, I was really excited to finally read Maybe A Fox. Kathi Appelt is one of my favorite Tween authors, having penned one of my favorite Tween books, Keeper. While I didn't like Maybe A Fox as much as I liked Keeper, I still found it to be a fantastic book. One of the things Kathi Appelt does best is weave a bunch of seemingly unrelated storylines together. She is also the master of creating believable, well-rounded characters.

I can (and WILL) definitely recommend Maybe A Fox. --AJB

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