Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-7624-6223-0 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-7624-6224-7 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4–6
When twelve-year-old Caleb goes for a walk in the woods to escape his mother’s concerns about his cystic fibrosis, he finds Kit, a cheerful, mischievous girl who knows nothing about his condition and finds him excellent company. Caleb then begins to bail regularly on summer camp to meet up with Kit in the forest and act out Kit’s stories of fairies and magic. Kit’s fictions aren’t just about fairies, though, but also why her mother is never home, where the bruise on her face came from, and where she sleeps at night. When the reality of Caleb’s illness comes crashing through their imaginary world, so does the truth about Kit’s life. This is a compelling story of two struggling kids making their own safe haven from harsh worlds [End Page 43] neither of them deserves, there’s both joy and sadness in its conclusion. Caleb is not always likable, but he’s sympathetic in his fear that no one can see past his illness. Kit’s a sort of a junior manic pixie dream girl, but she’s believable as a girl trying to mitigate her own fears of her mother’s mental instability with imagined worlds. Fans of Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia or, more recently, Haydu’s Someday Suitcase (BCCB 6/17) will appreciate the themes here.