Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor is a gentle read set in the mountains of North Carolina.
since her husband died, Aggie Duncan has had trouble keeping up the
Sleepy Time Motel. Reluctantly, she decides that it may be time to sell.
That decision will bring Willow and her father to the motel in search
of a fresh start -- or at least Willow's father is in search of a fresh
start. Willow is missing her old life: friends, house, and the mother
who left her and her father behind. Loretta, a girl just a little
younger than Willow, also finds herself at the Sleepy Time motel. She's
on a personal quest, with the blessing of her adoptive family, to learn a
little more about her recently deceased biological mother. Kirby and
his mother are also guests at the motel, and unwilling ones at that,
since they were on their way to Kirby's new military school when their
car broke down. Kirby's been in trouble for a long time now, and this
school is his last chance. Can he find a different pattern of behavior,
or will he slip back into old habits?
This book is told in
alternating perspectives, shifting back and forth between the children
and adults staying at the motel. The narratives bump up against each
other and weave loosely together as the characters interact and learn
about each other and themselves. I never felt very connected to any of
them, nor did I care strongly about the outcome of the story. That's not
to say that it wasn't a pleasant book, just not one that is going to
grab hold of the reader's imagination. The story has a strong sense of
place, and since it's a place I'm familiar with, I was able to picture
it clearly. Readers looking for this sort of gentle summer story may
enjoy this book, though those looking for adventure and excitement
should probably look elsewhere.
(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)