What follows is a booktalk for a title on our Mock Printz shortlist. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the event where our winner will be chosen! This booktalk was written by Sonja Somerville of Salem Public Library.
Adri has been chosen for an adventure beyond imagination. She will be one of a small group being sent to colonize Mars, the first part of a plan for humans to escape from a run-down Earth where everything is melting and coastal cities are now mostly water. But first, Adri is going to be drawn into a different kind of adventure, in Kansas of all places. It’s time for Adri’s final training, and she is sent to live with a distant cousin she didn’t know she had in a family home she didn’t know existed. She finds herself living with an old lady who is starting to forget things and an ancient tortoise named Galapagos.
When Adri finds a stash of old letters and a journal in the house, she gets wrapped up in two much older stories about women who lived in this place before her. One is a love-struck teen trying to survive the Dust Bowl, panicking and determined to get away as the money runs out and the constant dust storm leaves her younger sister coughing and wheezing. The other is a young British woman recovering from the grief of losing her bother to World War I who leaves her own home behind to seek out a friend in America. In the end, this is about three women facing disaster –- connected by a house and a tortoise, by desperation and hope.