“Mad’s dad is the Bird Guy. He’ll go anywhere to study birds. So when he’s offered a bird-tracking job in Central America, his bags are packed and he’s jungle bound.
But going bird tracking in the jungle and disappearing completely are very different things, and when the Very Strange and Incredibly Creepy Letter arrives, Mad can’t shake the terrible feeling that her father is in trouble.
Roo, Mad’s younger sister, is convinced that the letter is a coded message. And their mom is worried, because the letter doesn’t sound like Dad at all. But Mad is sure it’s a sign of something sinister.
The only way to get to the bottom of it is to go to Lava Bird Volcano and find their dad themselves. Though they never could have imagined what they’re about to discover.
From new talent Helen Phillips, HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN is the story of what can happen when two sisters make some unusual friends, trust in each other, and bravely face a jungle of trouble all to bring their family back together.”
In her review of HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN, Rebecca Stead called this eco-adventure “brimming with surprises…brave, smart and full of heart…” and well, I couldn’t agree more.
Though I don’t typically gravitate toward books with a contemporary voice (call me old fashion, but sometimes the “like, duh?!” verbiage of tweens and teens in many present day children/YA novels often deflates the three-dimensionality of the characters, rather than lending to a more “current” or believable voice). But though “Mad” envelopes the vocabulary, intonations, and often moody thoughts of her real-world middle grade audience, she remains utterly original, sturdy – full of her own stuff. She’s brave and vulnerable, and not afraid to reveal her ambivalence about the world around her.
Phillips weaves together the thoughts and conflict of Madeline’s inner world in perfect contrast to the story unfolding around her – an addicting craft of words, indeed.
On the downside, while character development and word choice are clearly marks of a pro, the plot often slows down to a pace perhaps too detail oriented for middle grade readers. Nonetheless, it’s an adventurous ride. Bird lovers will have plenty of pages to satisfy their obsession, while quest seekers will enjoy Madeline and Ruby’s mishaps and discoveries.
HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN hits bookshelves on November 13th.
Read it. It’s a fun ride.
Check-out the official book trailer below: