Description: For Emily Baxter, life is simple. Her world is made up completely of school, church, and the community in the small farming town she calls home. All that changes one fateful Sunday, when a new girl shows up at Pleasanton Baptist—a girl unlike anyone Emily has ever seen. A girl with long red hair, crystal green eyes, and style and posture like royalty.
A girl named October.
The months that follow are filled with magic—the magic of ordinary things, of finding pictures in the stars, of imagination and a new sense of beauty. But as time goes by, Emily begins to sense that her enchanting new friend may have secrets that could break the spell. Is October really all she seems to be?
I wasn’t going to read this novel. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Grace Pennington is one of my favorite authors. I'm always blown away by her skill and powerful storytelling. However, I knew this book was going to be sad and hard to read. I decided to pick it up, and my heart is indeed in a thousand little pieces, like the feeling you get at the end of Camelot: You wanted a different ending so much, and yet, your heart is aching with the beauty of the conclusion that is there.
Emily is a wonderful character. I loved her. She is sweet, hopeful, and a faithful friend. She reminds me a lot of my youngest sister. I love how excited Emily gets over a new girl, a girl who is so obviously different.
The parents, pastor, and Melissa all played supporting roles. Each of them had some flaws, but all of them also had some wonderful qualities. I loved how real they all felt.
From the beginning of the book, you are waiting for the shoe to drop. You know that there is more to October (or Tobi) then Emily is seeing. Even early on, there are glimpses that just don’t fit. As the book wears on, the tension mounts. I think for anyone who has been around people like October will see it coming.
I think the hardest thing about this book is to realize how necessary it is. So many young people are dealing with friends who have major challenges like October. A book like this can help younger readers cope with what they are going through. The issues discussed in this book are not easy (See spoiler at the end of my review), but they are real, and they do exist.
The writing was some of Pennington’s best yet. You can tell this story poured out of her very soul, not just her heart. Because of that, it will impact lives.
The ending left my heart broken, yet there was hope among the sharp shards of pain. This is not a happy, feel-good book. This is not a fluffy romance. This is a raw, emotional, and realistic look at some hard things.
I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy realistic stories, lyrical writing, and emotional tales.