Wolfe’s story tugs on heartstrings while endowing its characters with convincing motivations and evincing welcome concern for people who need help. Emotions run high, with constant crises testing Chace and the rest of the cast. Between the bullying of Chace and James by another resident of the children’s home and moments of real physical danger, the troubles range from minor to life-ending. In between these tense moments, Sarah and Chace’s urging of kindness to solve problems bears fruit without being too pat.
Some elements might distract from the verisimilitude. Wolfe’s teenage characters often speak like world-weary adults, and the depiction of the child welfare system is quaintly archaic. Readers will need to suspend disbelief to accept Chace’s Christ-like open forgiveness while being able to take on physical traumas for others in order to heal them. Still, the writing is polished, the story is thoughtful, and the emotions charged and engaging. Readers open to those big feelings will appreciate this sensitive story and its touching message.
Takeaway: This intensely emotional story of orphans, visions, and compassion is a call for treating each other well.
Great for fans of: R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, Erin Stewart’s Scars Like Wings.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+