Raymie Nightingale (paperback)
by Kate DiCamillo
AR Level 4.2, 5 points
Raymie Nightingale is Raymie Clark, and she lives with her mother in Florida in the 1970s. Her father has just run off with a dental hygienist, and Raymie thinks if she wins a pageant, her father will see her picture in the paper and return to the family. She is taking baton-twirling lessons to help her chances of winning, but she meets 2 unlikely friends who seem to have a tougher situation than she does. Together, the three girls spend their summer trying to learn to twirl a baton, save a cat, find a misplaced book, and save each other from desperate situations.
What I liked about this book was the way Raymie was able to come out on top and defeat what she saw as the odds. Her mom “woke up” and her dad called, even though Raymie no longer wanted to talk to him. Even though most of it was kind of depressing, there were well-developed characters, and you felt for each one of them.
What I didn’t like about this book was it was kind of depressing. Raymie and her friends were all in a depressed state over their lives, Raymie’s mom was depressed over her husband leaving, and there was death and near death. However, it all contributed to the tone of the book, and Raymie came out on top in the end, being a light in her friends’ and mother’s worlds.
Book 3 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)