A funny, poignant, and hopeful tale… Lusciously readable.
A kind-hearted boy, golf, and an innate community bond are among the fascinating threads that Gavin cleverly weaves into her latest Ingo-novel. Fourteen-year-old Pat is keen to help his best friend Cliff after the latter loses his father to a highway tanker explosion. With Ingo, the adorable golden Cocker Spaniel, and Lani on board, the things immediately kick in, and the warm-hearted Golf-Pro Willie agrees to coach the boys. But when a colossal storm puts the Clubhouse in jeopardy, it is up to Ingo to get things settled. It’s with skill and empathy that Gavin captures Ingo’s bond with his humans and uncanny ability to communicate nonverbally—a skill that gives the book a touch of magical realism. Gavin expertly creates deeply sympathetic characters, inviting readers to share in the lives of a community connected by understanding and kindness. Especially moving is the depiction of Cliff and his family coming to terms with the loss of their father as Ingo, Pat, Lani, and others step forward to help them. Gavin adeptly balances themes of understanding, acceptance, friendship, and kindness while tackling the complexities of grief with insight and empathy. She concisely and authentically conveys character and emotion, the firmly knit community of Broad Oaks Development is rich with descriptive details and clearly wrought, and the inclusion of golf competition makes for an added intrigue. Pat, Ingo, and others’ initiative to help Cliff and his family instigates a crucial process that caps the resonant story of friendship, community, and connectedness. This richly layered novel will appeal to both upper middle graders and initial YA readers.
By Lani Gavin
Categories: Middle Grade