Skylark and Wallcreeper
Booklist Reviews 2018 October #1
For fans of historical fiction and natural disaster stories comes an engaging novel that alternates between WWII in rural France and 2012 in New York City. Lily is a brave, independent-minded tween tending to her elderly grandmother in a nursing home when the two become displaced amid intense flooding during Hurricane Sandy. Her grandmother Colette's memory is spotty, and when a beloved Montblanc pen goes missing, Lily sets out to recover it in what becomes an illuminating journey into her grandmother's past. As a child, Colette—aka Wallcreeper—disguised herself as a boy and aided the French Resistance. The two time lines make for a fast-paced read, with danger and suspense in both narrative arcs. The intense friendship forged by war and Lily's own deep bond with her grandmother provide tender moments of connection. While an author's note provides some further context, for many this will be a jumping-off point into the French Resistance. A solid next choice for those who enjoyed Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War That Saved My Life (2015) and Alan Gratz's Refugee ? (2017). Grades 4-7. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Spring
Twelve-year-old Lily helps to evacuate her granny from a nursing home during Hurricane Sandy and, in the chaos, loses Granny's old Montblanc pen. Lily's search for the pen in post-storm New York alternates with flashbacks to Granny's activities in the French Resistance during WWII. Carelli provides an interesting juxtaposition of different types of danger and valor across the decades. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
PW Reviews 2018 September #1
Carelli alternates contemporary and historical fiction in this novel about 12-year-old Lily and her 80-year-old, French-born maternal grandmother, Collette. The contemporary story, told by Lily, takes place in New York City over nine days in fall 2012, during Hurricane Sandy. The historical narrative offers a third-person retelling of Collette's undertakings as a 12-year-old member of the French Resistance during WWII, lasting from winter through late summer 1944 in the South of France. Lily and Collette have always been close, and when Sandy forces evacuation of the Queens nursing home where Collette lives, Lily is by her side, helping to move and resettle residents. (Lily's anxious mother, stuck in Manhattan, communicates worriedly via cellphone.) Interspersed with the sometimes frightening challenges of the relocation are stories of Collette's dangerous wartime work with another young woman. When Lily loses Collette's antique fountain pen, mysteriously precious to her grandmother, she embarks on a hunt for a replacement, which serendipitously takes Lily on an adventure in which she learns the details of her grandmother's wartime history. While the novel doesn't quite succeed in building suspense, and the heartwarming ending strains credibility, Carelli realistically depicts the warm, complex relationships between daughter, mother, and grandmother. Ages 8–12.