It’s been a while since Lydia’s mother died, but Lydia still finds herself reeling from the impact of the life-changing event. Following the plan that she made with her mother, Lydia uproots to her Aunt Brat’s Connecticut farm, where she finds two more adults — Eileen (Aunt Brat’s good-humored wife) and Elloroy (their quirky live-in landlord) — waiting for her with open arms. Lydia struggles to become accustomed to her new family, and the big yellow dog that her aunt adopted just days after her arrival isn’t helping either. It barks too much, escapes from its leash often, and has a habit of peeing in the house. But against all odds, Lydia ends up loving this big yellow dog, who helps her grieve, heal, and love.
This book was amazing! Middle-grade feel-good novels tend to be overly saccharine and too simplistic for my taste, but this book managed to avoid all of that. The characters were complex and well-developed, and I was pleasantly surprised by the emotional resonance of the book. The story was quite simple, but I think that worked to the author’s benefit in this case. A more complex story would definitely have detracted from the connection that is established with the reader and dulled the shine of the character interactions. Overall, this book just felt like a hug — what more could you ask for?