All summer, almost-fifth-grader Julia Gillian tries her hardest to avoid reading a book about a boy and his dog because she assumes it will have a unhappy ending. After all, it seems as though dogs don't often survive those stories - Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc. She doesn't want to think about such things, especially because she has a pet dog, Bigfoot, who is her constant companion. Though she's good at doing things, she really doesn't want to read that particular book, but procrastination and avoidance just stress her out!
Julia is a fun character. I love her curious nature. She has a great sense of loyalty. She's surrounded by artsy-cool folks, like her parents and her neighbors, two of which are siblings: her former baby-sitter, now a hip young woman she looks up to, and her brother the baker, who makes tasty and interesting treats. As she walks around Minneapolis, you can tell that she is totally comfortable in her city and in her home. She's totally a city girl, but she acts her age - not overly precocious, not at all naive, definitely and firmly her age, and always curious and questioning.
This is the first in a trilogy. I'll definitely be reading the next two books to see what else happens to Julia, and I'll continue to read Alison McGhee's other books as well. I have enjoyed her previous novels, like Shadow Baby, Snap, and Falling Boy, and there seems yet to be an audience for which she can't write successfully!