I know you’ve had nights when you have to stay up to finish a book. And last night, it was my night to finish Jenn Reese‘s middle grades title A Game of Fox & Squirrels (out in April 14 from Henry Holt). I was just captivated!
Sam is a young girl who has to move to Oregon with her sister Caitlin because of “an accident” that leaves Caitlin’s arm broken. Sam loves her parents – even her dad – and wants to return to California as soon as possible. But after engaging in a game of Fox & Squirrels – a game through which she learns about how in her real life she is just a squirrel trying to please the unsatisfiable fox – Sam learns that maybe living in Oregon with her aunt and her wife is the best thing for her.
I usually do not love fantasies. But I was just so enthralled with this book. It moved swiftly and there was just such beauty in Sam’s character. It was hard for her to admit that her home situation was not healthy for her. It was equally important for her aunt to realize that she was not abusive like her brother had been to his girls. That she had gotten help and been involved in meaningful relationships and could be a wonderful caregiver to her nieces.
This is a book about what home means. And it is a book about what family means. It is a book about how things may look or seem one way and really be another way. And it is a book about growth, about how personal strength can allow us to move forward.
The game Sam plays mutes somewhat the topics of abuse that are in the text, and young middle grade readers may miss out on some of the extended metaphor. But the book deserves to be read and discussed – by middle grades, young adult, and adult readers.
A Game of Fox & Squirrels is a powerful text that needs an audience! It earns four stars. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️