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Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Very Merry Un-Birthday to... JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS by Melissa Sarno!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
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Can you believe it's already JUNE?!  I know I can't and yet Mother Nature certainly isn't allowing us to forget because, whew!  That thermostat is definitely staying set to 76 inside, while the outside burns upwards of 90+.  ~wipes sweat...I mean sparkle from brow~  Anywho...enough about my world, let's dive into this one...

Today's blog tour guest comes to us via Random House Children's Books and features a SOON TO BE released work of Middle Grade Fiction (June 5th, 2018,as of this post).  It may look dreamy and curious with it's blue-as-the-sky cover, but the topics it deals with are pretty hard hitting.  So, if you're ready to discover that there truly is no place like home, even if it can't be contained by four walls, join me for today's book of choice...

Melissa Sarno
Knopf Books for Young Readers

About the book...
Can you still have a home if you don’t have a house? In the spirit of The Truth About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree comes a stunning debut about a family struggling to find something lasting when everything feels so fleeting.

Always think in threes and you’ll never fall, Cora’s father told her when she was a little girl. Two feet, one hand. Two hands, one foot. That was all Cora needed to know to climb the trees of Brooklyn.

But now Cora is a middle schooler, a big sister, and homeless. Her mother is trying to hold the family together after her father’s death, and Cora must look after her sister, Adare, who’s just different, their mother insists. Quick to smile, Adare hates wearing shoes, rarely speaks, and appears untroubled by the question Cora can’t help but ask: How will she find a place to call home? 

After their room at the shelter is ransacked, Cora’s mother looks to an old friend for help, and Cora finally finds what she has been looking for: Ailanthus altissima, the “tree of heaven,” which can grow in even the worst conditions. It sets her on a path to discover a deeper truth about where she really belongs.

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Home is where the heart is...
...much more than just a lovely turn of phrase.

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In the case of Cora, Adare, and their mother, they've had a bit of trouble this last year managing to keep their feet in the same neighborhood for more than a few weeks at a time.  It's not simply because their mother likes to wander, but more that their whole dynamic was thrown off kilter with the passing of her husband, the girls' father.  It was sudden, it was quick, but those are not the cares of loved ones left behind.  They long for what's missing, the comfort and security they provided, and as they move from place to place seeking somewhere to call their own once again, they discover that while much has been lost, there is still much to be FOUND.

The story itself was heartbreaking, but the characters are what truly make it shine.  Cora took on the weight of the world, a hard task as an adult, much less in the high tops of a little girl, and despite feeling unmoored, was still able to glean the joys from life one lesson at a time.  Adare with her gentle ways and curiosity, may not be able to express everything in a way we are able to understand so easily, but it doesn't make it any less important, or profound when she does.  Their mother was certainly a depiction of a caring parent struggling to find her way when the rug was pulled from under her world, while being reminded of the important things in life she was still responsible for.  Even Willa, with her take charge attitude and sometimes judgy aire, was able to leave her mark on the story as she tried to help the best way she knew how, only to discover things about herself, and areas in which she could grow.

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All in all, I've got to say it's a surprising little story with a whole lot of heart.  Even though all the pieces may not be a perfect fit, it reminds us that those differences, those unique angles, are all beautiful contributions to the overall picture.  Home is truly where the heart is, and while it may not define a space, it defines a feeling, an ideal where we feel safe to be ourselves and let our possibilities grow.

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About the author...

Melissa Sarno is a freelance writer and editor with an MFA in screenwriting. She writes about middle-grade books for Barnes & Noble’s BNkids blog and edits YA and children’s book reviews for Cleaver magazine. Read more about her at Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melissasarno.

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Special thanks to Jenna at Random House Children's Books for the ARC for review as well as the chance to bring this tour to you.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is set to release June 5th, 2018, so mark your calendar or pre order your copy today!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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