Another seemingly cliche story of a girl and her sister and their more-or-less awful relationship. As it turned out, though, it wasn’t cliche at all. Moreso, it’s about an East Texan girl’s relationship with her grandfather. It hit close to him, since our family went through something rather similar a few years ago. A nice, if sad, story.
"Eleven-year-old Jaynell Lambert often slips into the junkyard beside her house and sits behind the wheel of a salvaged car, "driving" herself wherever her imagination will take her. It is the summer of 1968 in a desolate Texas town, and her recently widowed grandfather has left his homestead to move into the Lambert house, where his increasingly bizarre behavior convinces Jaynell’s parents that he is becoming senile. With Jaynell in tow, Grandpap makes daily treks to the cemetery to talk to the headstones of Moon’s departed citizens, and he impulsively buys a gaudy emerald green Cadillac convertible that he allows his granddaughter to drive in open fields. Even though she empathizes with her grandfather’s loneliness and his quirky methods of coping with it, the child is aghast when he gives away his own unoccupied homestead to the town’s dirt-poor social outcasts. After his sudden death, her family contrives to reclaim the property that they feel is rightfully their own, and Jaynell learns sobering lessons about the dark side of human nature yet at the same time discovers honesty, courage, and kindness in unlikely places. This nostalgic parable about loss and redemption is at once gritty and poetic, stark and sentimental, howlingly funny and depressingly sad, but it is a solid page-turner. Holt once again displays her remarkable gift for creating endearingly eccentric characters as well as witty dialogue rich in dialect and idiom." - School Library Journal