Rakmen carries a heavy load of loss in his teenage life. His baby sister died recently, and the hole exploded into him by that loss seems unrecoverable. He is bombing his high-school courses, his parents are falling apart at the seams, and Rakmen is losing his way in life.
A happenstance meeting helps him realize one of his teachers has experienced a similar loss, and that initial interaction serves as a critical turning point in the book. As is so often true with life, Rakmen gets some unpleasant-sounding opportunities for his summer; with little choice, he spends his summer kidsitting his teachers’ ten-year-old daughter on some remote Canadian lake with gross stuff growing in a very old cabin. He has no idea what a canoe is or how to use it, he knows nothing about mice and rats, and he knows even less about grief and how to walk with it. By the end of the book, he has grown lifetimes and heart sizes.
I will pick up almost any book with wilderness as a setting in it, and this was no different. I loved the setting, I loved the plot, and I really enjoyed disappearing into this book each night. I didn’t want it to end. Gold star to author Amber J Keyser for a sweet heart-breaking story.