Review / Ambassador of Nowhere Texas

20210815ma_2847Book: Ambassador of Nowhere Texas (2021)
Author: Kimberly Willis Holt
Genre: MG, Near Historical (2001)
Companion Book to: When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

Opening lines from the book …
My grandmother told me she once watched an abandoned house fold inside itself. The roof had caved in, leaving a hollow shell. “A house needs people, Rylee,” she claimed, “or it will die.”

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) I like how this book is connected to another book by the same author. While, I have never read When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. (That book seems to be about Rylee’s dad, Toby.)

2) I really enjoyed Rylee’s enthusiasm. I love that they had a snow cone stand! Joe could be a little surly and mysterious at times, but it works with the story. I like how they team up!

3) And then there’s Twig. She’s Rylee’s friend who decides to take a break from friendship with Rylee. I felt for both girls and I did like how the story brings them together by the end.

4) I love how the title worked into the story. Joe is not particularly friendly in the story, especially when he first arrives. Being from New York City, he looks down on “Nowhere” Texas and he asks if Rylee is the town’s ambassador. I love how Rylee decides that, yes, she can indeed be the ambassador for her town!

5) I like that they referred to the attacks as “September 11th”, which is how we tended to do it back then. Later on in the book, it switches to 9/11, which again did seem authentic to me.

THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…

1) For most of the time when I was reading, I didn’t FEEL like I was back in 2001. I’m not sure she captured the time period. There were hints every now and then (like references to dial-up internet). I wish it had been more consistent.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I lived in New York City during the attacks on 9/11, so I knew I had to read one of the many books that came out this year to mark the 20th anniversary. This one got my attention. (And it does make me want to read the companion book!)

 


YOUR TURN…

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

9 thoughts on “Review / Ambassador of Nowhere Texas

  1. This sounds like an interesting book. I remember reading in psychology class that a house trope often represents the self and the quote at the beginning of your review would kind of support that, given the rest of the review. I was and still am living in NYC on 9/11, but still have trouble reading books about it. But yes, the switch from September 11th to 9/11 is quite authentic. Thanks for your review especially this week.

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  2. Nowhere, Texas. It took me a while to realize that it was about 9/11, I was too focused on the town. But I like to see how different places around the country dealt with that period. And, for me, 9/11 feels just like a few years ago — can’t believe it’s the 20th anniversary. I was working for the US Air Force at the time doing media and community relations at Wright-Patt AFB. We carried pagers, bricks to communicate with each other and we had a few Blackberrys and high-tech computers but no social media — thank heavens. So the discrepancy doesn’t seem that much. We really didn’t wear high, high heels. 🙂

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  3. Love the title—a real attention grabber. I’ve not read any of the 9/11 books including this one. I have them on my future read list though. The MC here sounds like they carry the story well. I’m so glad you featured this new title during the 9/11 week.

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  4. This sounds like an interesting group of characters in an interesting time and place. That is a terrific formula for a story. The title is a tempting one. I will try to check this one out. Thanks for the review.

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  5. This sounds like an excellent read! I appreciate that you’ve featured a 9/11-related novel with the 20th anniversary (a weirdly happy word to use) in sight. That is funny that the author doesn’t capture the time period very well! Thanks so much for the thoughtful review!

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    • I found it funny too that I kept thinking I was in the present day instead of 2001. It’s not easy to do, to write these near historicals. I know that some of the other 9/11 books set their story in present day and look back to the event that happened in 2001.

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