Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-248453-6 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-248455-0 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6
With four siblings, middle-schooler Josie often feels a little lost in her family, and her increasing height is wreaking havoc with her gymnastics abilities, both because of the physical changes it presents and the serious self-consciousness it causes her. When older brother, Tom, brings home a runt piglet he has rescued from a farm near his college, animal-loving Josie finds a new focus—trying to convince her parents to keep “Hamlet.” It’s a tricky prospect in their urban townhouse-style apartment, and as Hamlet grows rapidly the challenges increase, until finally an encounter with a neighbor results in a visit from the police, who inform the family that they have eight days to get the pig out. Although the supporting characters lack depth and some of the events feel a bit contrived, Josie is an endearing heroine and her story is a compelling one. Hamlet’s antics are amusing (especially to animal lovers), but it is Josie’s travails with gymnastics and her family relationships that offer the most genuine and thought-provoking moments. Josie’s relationship with her dad is particularly well drawn; he clearly cares about his kids but he’s also realistically oblivious to some of Josie’s ups and downs. This will appeal to the animal fans who loved Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan (BCCB 2/12).