Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel 
by Kimberly Willis Holt 
Published by Henry Holt and Co. 
March 2017
336 Pages 
Realistic Fiction
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Twelve-year-old Stevie's world changes drastically when her parents are tragically killed and she is forced to live with her estranged grandfather at his run-down motel. After failed attempts to connect with her grandfather, Stevie befriends the colorful motel tenants and neighbors. Together, they decide to bring some color and life to the motel by planting a flower garden, against Stevie's grandfather's wishes. It will take Stevie's departure before her grandfather realizes just how needed she is by everyone.

My Thoughts
"A heartfelt middle grade novel about life, loss, and finding your true family." This is what I wrote in my Goodreads review of this book. I also called Stevie, "A character that stays with you." and boy is that the truth. Her character is so well-developed that you feel her emotions of loss, anger, frustration and hope right along with her.
Winston, Stevie's curmudgeon of a grandfather, is stuck in his ways and really seems to resist any kind of change. He is standoffish with Stevie who doesn't feel as though he wants her to be living with him. Stevie is desperate to learn more about her mother, but Winston is tight lipped on the subject. Stevie gets the feeling that there are secrets about her parents that no one is telling her.

The cast is balanced out with loads of colorful characters. Roy, Arlo and Ida, who work at her grandfather's aging motel, become a family of sorts for Stevie. Mrs. Crump is Stevie's elderly homeschool teacher who nods off during each day's lesson and surly, brooding Frida is Stevie's only classmate.

When Stevie learns about an aunt she never knew she had, she goes to visit and has a wonderful time. She gets a glimpse at feeling like a part of a family for the first time since her parents' death.
Will Stevie learn to "bloom" where she has been planted? The ending is touching and gives the reader some closure.
I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it for grades 4-8.

See what others have to say about Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel:
Redeemed Reader
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