CBR11Bingo – Travel!
Coyote Sunrise and her father Rodeo live an unconventional lifestyle. Tried and true hippies, they drive round the country as the wind takes them on a repurposed school bus which acts as both home and transport. Sometimes they drive toward their favorite sandwich shop in the Bayou, or maybe they’re assisting a fellow traveler they found stranded. It’s been this way for five years – because five years ago, Coyote’s mother and sisters were killed in a car accident. And leaving home and never turning back is the only way her father could cope.
Coyote still checks in once a week with her Gram though, and it’s here that she finds out the one thing that pulls her home: the beloved town park where her mother and sisters buried their memory box is being torn up. Coyote needs to get home and get that box before it’s lost to construction. But Rodeo won’t even speak his wife or children’s names – how can she convince him to turn back to the one place he can’t face again? Through some sneaky manipulations and the help of some new friends, Coyote thinks she can trick him there. She just has to keep the wool over his eyes for four days and 3600 miles…
This was a very sweet book and I think lots of tween readers would enjoy it. Coyote is a very engaging narrator and the plot is a wild ride. The characters are generally very likeable, especially Rodeo and Coyote. The idea of living on a tricked out school bus is a fun concept, and the road trip has many twists and turns.
Sometimes the plot strains credibility – and I think the adults in this book sometimes act very immaturely (I’m looking at you, Lester). We touch on some issues that don’t fully get explored (immigration, LGBTQ discrimination), so it’s possible there’s a lot of issues crammed in this one book. But the heart of the book – the recovery from grief that Coyote and her father must process – is very well done and extremely moving.
I listened to this on audio and it’s an excellent narration by Khristine Hvam. Definitely recommended for readers who like Louis Sachar (his more serious books like Someday Angeline and Holes), Kate DiCamillo, or Sharon Creech.