Book: A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2020)
Author: Joy McCullough
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Basic plot: Sutton loves robots. Luis loves to write. Their parents are getting serious in their dating relationship, and now it’s time for the kids to meet. But things don’t always go so smoothly, especially with Luis’ severe allergies in play. And Sutton tends to fixate on her robots. That’s when it’s decided that a hike might just do the trick to bring the families together.
1) This book has two main characters. Let’s start with Sutton (because the book begins with her). She is a robot-loving introvert. I loved the exchange with her dad about news (regarding a fancy dinner date) he had given her early in the morning. “Was I fully prepared to engage?” she asks him about the fact that she doesn’t really remember him telling her about this date. I love her relationship with the neighbours in their apartment. (More on them later.)
2) I found myself drawn to Luis. I definitely related to him a little more than to Sutton. He’s pragmatic as well as a budding writer working on an epic story about a character named Penelope Bell. There’s the scene where he’s going to the emergency room (with an allergic reaction). He knows that his best friend’s mom is over-reacting, but we get his inner thoughts. He knows that this is just part of his life as he calmly greets (by name) the hospital staff. (These severe allergies (to peanuts and bees) come into play later in the story.)
3) I loved the parents and how they interacted with their children. Sutton and her dad have a wonderful relationship, as do Luis and his mom. And I was rooting for them to become a blended family quite early on. Of course, the book doesn’t extend that far, but still. 🙂
4) The cover of the book promises a hike, and yes, we get a hike. It’s kind of a fun story that’s partly based on the author’s own experience. I love how both kids come to the hike with (almost identical) fully-prepared backpacks.
5) Sutton’s neighbours (in her apartment) are adorable! Mrs. B and her dog Moti, and Mr. Wong and his cat… I loved Mrs. B particularly and how she knows how helpful a glass of golden milk can be to an injured soul. My favourite type of neighbour!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) The hike did seem a little less dangerous/important than I was expecting. (Expectations set up by the cover, probably.) This wasn’t a huge deal. I just guess I was expecting more hiking in the book. While it is mentioned a bit, it only comes into the plot at the end. And there was that weird scene with the bee. (Yeah, not sure about that bee.)
Overall, I did enjoy this book! The kids are engaging. I liked the parents (minus the one!) I would definitely recommend this book.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…