Gr 6-9-An engaging story of love and loss, told with humor and suspense. Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s mother leaves home suddenly on a spiritual quest, vowing to return, but can’t keep her promise. The girl and her father leave their farm in Kentucky and move to Ohio, where Sal meets Phoebe Winterbottom, also 13. While Sal accompanies her eccentric grandparents on a six-day drive to Idaho to retrace her mother’s route, she entertains them with the tale of Phoebe, whose mother has also left home. While this story-within-a-story is a potentially difficult device, in the hands of this capable author it works well to create suspense, keep readers’ interest, and draw parallels between the situations and reactions of the two girls. Sal’s emotional journey through the grieving process-from denial to anger and finally to acceptance-is depicted realistically and with feeling. Indeed, her initial confusion and repression of the truth are mirrored in the book; even readers are unaware until near the end, that Sal’s mother has died. Phoebe’s mother does return home, bringing with her a son previously unknown to her family, who is accepted with alacrity. Overall, a richly layered novel about real and metaphorical journeys.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.