lourd51 added a book review.
The story takes place in Reno, NV and Liberty, NY, but most of the action takes place on the bus ride to Liberty. The time is current day. Heidi, Bernie and Mama are the main characters and they are all totally believable. I liked Heidi the most, since she is the main character and struggles the most in finding the true story to her life. She doesn't want much in the world, but does want to find out where she came from and who her family is. I am amazed at how well Heidi has done in life with the cards that she has been dealt. She has a mother who has a bum brain and has been home-schooled by her caring neighbor, Bernie. Although she doesn't interact too much with the outside world, Heidi seems pretty smart and prepared for the real world. I can relate to Heidi a little bit since I never was able to meet my grandparents. I have felt the same way in that I wanted to find out more about them since I never met them. The problem in the story is that Heidi has a mother who is mentally challenged (only speaks limited words) and therefore, Heidi has no idea who any of her family members are. She wants to find out who her family is so she ventures out to Liberty, NY in hopes of finding her grandmother who was once believed to be in a photo found in a closet in her home. The problem is solved when Heidi manages to take a long bus adventure to Hilltop Home and meets people who steer her toward the information that she needs. I won't tell more in fear of giving away the ending. I love the ending, but found it to be very different from what I expected- which is great for a reader. What I like about this book is that students will get a better understanding of people with disabilities and how life can be affected in various ways. Heidi learns to never give up on her dream and continues her search for her family. I learned that not everything is exactly as you would expect it to be and not all stories end happily or the way that you want them to end. Fifth graders and above should read this book and would learn from it because it teaches them about broken families and how to be successful in life. I rate this book a 10/10 due to the wonderful things that I learned about mental illness and perseverance.