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Paper Chains By Elaine Vickers
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Katie recently moved to Boston and became unlikely friends with Ana. Katie seems perfect. She has a loving family, exemplary school grades, and always knows the right thing to say. Ana isn’t even close to perfect. Her family’s falling apart, and her fast temper and adventurous spirit seem to land her in trouble far too often.
But perfect Katie hasn’t told Ana the whole truth- she is adopted and longs to learn about her birth parents and birth country, Russia. Plus, she had a heart transplant as a young girl and must take medication and be careful not to get overexcited or push her body too much. All Katie wants is to feel like she belongs: to learn about her heritage and birth parents, and go ice-skating with the other fifth graders.
Meanwhile, the weight of the world seems to be bearing down on Ana. Her Dad, a professional hockey player, left her family a few months ago and barely calls. And since then, her mom has spiraled down into depression and her younger brother cries all the time. The house is a mess and family mealtime has become non-existent. When her Russian grandmother, Babushka, arrives to help, Ana doesn’t think things could get much worse. The foreign food tastes funny and the household chores seem never-ending. She has to think of a plan to reunite her parents and fast.
Ana longs for Katie’s perfect life. Katie longs for Ana’s freedom. Jealous of each other and engrossed in their personal struggles, their friendship falls apart. But luckily the girls realize, before it’s too late, that they are stronger together and can help each other.
Paper Chains is a sweet, page-turning story about fitting in and finding your place in the world, with beautiful elements of Russian heritage woven in. Cozy up with a hot chocolate and enjoy!