I threw the ARC of this book into my suitcase after The Book Whisperer recommended it. Thanks, Donalyn! WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET by Tricia Springstubb (Balzer and Bray 2010) is a pitch perfect middle grade novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel reminiscent of CRISS CROSS and other quiet stories about neighborhoods. Mo Wren loves her home on Fox Street. She longs to spot an actual fox, however, something that has eluded her. That does not mean Mo does not look for a fox in the neighborhood at every turn. However, Mo has other matters on her mind now. Her best friend is visiting for the summer, but Mercedes has changed. This might even be Mercedes' last summer visiting Fox Street. Add to Mo's troubles, her younger sister, Dottie, who disappears as soon as Mo's back is turned for a second. And now Dad is talking about maybe selling their house? It is too much for Mo to bear. <8>
Springstubb creates some fascinating characters whose lives intersect not just because they all live on Fox Street. Mo is fully realized, an endearing character whose interior (and exterior) dialog rings true as well. Her description of the homes in the neighborhood is so authentic as is her friendship with Mercedes. The line between dream and reality is tread very carefully here with moments that resonate of magical realism. But the novel is set firmly in the real world with real world issues and people and events.