Amulet. May 2024. 312p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419764424.
Gr 4-8–B has been in foster care since age five when their parents died. Although they have had several placements, none have felt right. When their last placement ends in a disastrous family outing involving a dog named Gooseberry, B is placed with a new family, where it begins to feel like home. B has always had an ambition to be a dog trainer. Their meeting with Gooseberry leads them to believe that Gooseberry is the dog they are meant to train. Unfortunately, like B, Gooseberry has gone through trauma that left him mistrustful of people. As B begins Gooseberry’s training, they find that overcoming trauma is not a quick process, but with love and patience, progress can be made. B is nonbinary and goes by B as they try to find their true name. Their latest foster parents are a lesbian couple, one of whom is transgender. B is surrounded by a group of gender-diverse friends that help them as they deal with bullies and the transition to a new home. Gooseberry’s struggles with trust and overcoming trauma parallel those of B and provide them an additional coping mechanism as they begin to realize they’ve found their home.
VERDICT B’s struggle to find home and acceptance will have readers rooting for them and Gooseberry the dog. A must-purchase realistic fiction title for all middle grade collections.

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