11-Yr old Sydney has a problem named Fred. He’s a retired bomb sniffing dog that her wounded veteran dad brought home with him from the war. Dad suffers from PTSD and only talks to Fred. Sydney wished she was a dog so he would talk to her too, maybe help her deal with a school bully. When her wish is granted, she learns that sometimes a simple wish can get you into a lot of trouble. Available through Ingram, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Keyes Canyon Press.
Plot: The premise behind this touching middle grade story--a girl who turns into a dog in order to better connect with her PTSD-suffering father--is certainly compelling, with definite appeal to young readers. However, Reed's storyline would benefit from additional development leading up to her character's transformation.
Prose/Style: Reed writes in a basic (at times overly so) and humorous prose style that clearly conveys the unusual circumstances. Sydney's lively, frank narrative voice will appeal most strongly to younger middle grade readers who have ever wondered what their parents would do if they disappeared.
Originality: A child heroine seeking peace and solace for her troubled family is not a new concept, especially in middle grade and YA fiction, but the path that Sydney follows in order to arrive at a resolution (and the book's focus on a parent's PTSD) is fresh and unexpected.
Character Development: Sydney is a strong, well-rounded character with relatable emotional struggles, while others--notably, Fred--are equally endearing. Family members are realistically flawed and provide the story of a girl-turned-dog, with gravity.
Date Submitted: July 27, 2019
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the blurb:
“In this Middle Grade Fantasy, eleven-year-old Sydney has a problem named Fred. He’s a retired bomb sniffing dog that her wounded veteran dad brought home with him from the war. Dad suffers from PTSD and only talks to Fred. Mom copes with the stress by working more. Sydney handles homework, household chores and a bully at school all on her own. This is not the perfect family she dreamed of while he was away.
Sydney wishes she was a dog so Dad would talk to her too. When her wish is granted her disappearance as a kid causes a breakdown that puts her dad in the hospital. Sydney's inner strength bubbles up as she struggles with life as a dog on a journey that opens her eyes to what Dad and Fred endured in Afghanistan. Her wish ultimately heals them all and gets her closer to her perfect family.”
This is an adorable Middle Grade Book, about love, kindness, dogs, PTSD, bullying and friendship. All thrown together with an element of magic and speculative fiction.
It’s not Pulitzer-prize winning literature, but it’s a great book for kids around age 9-13.
The characters are well fleshed out, the plot arc and timing are right on, and the story about a girl becoming a dog and her friendship with her family’s dog was just delightful. Highly recommended for this age group. And some adults might like it too. I sure did.
Thank you to the publisher for allowing me access to this sweet book. And good luck to the author.
This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads and Amazon.
#netgalley #sydneyporterdoggirl #ptsd #wardogs #lgreed #middlegrade