Nothing Else But Miracles

Holiday House/Margaret ­Ferguson. Sept. 2023. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823451630.
Gr 4-6–Dori talks to the Statue of Liberty. The 12-year-old pleads with “Libby” to bring Pop home safely from the battles of World War II, as the statue was the last to see his ship leave and would be the first to see him return. After Pop was drafted five months ago, Dori’s life without him (mom died from tuberculosis) has been a struggle for her and brothers Fish, 17, and Pike, 7. The siblings survive through their fierce devotion to one another and the generosity of their neighbors. The new building landlord, however, suspects Pop’s absence and wants to turn the children over to a city orphanage. Dori’s adventurous spirit leads her to discover a new home to keep the siblings together: rooms in an abandoned hotel, accessible only through an old hand-pulled elevator hidden in a nearby restaurant. Albus (A Place to Hang the Moon) vividly recreates the landscape of New York City’s Lower East Side and the varying cultures of the families whose kindness make Dori’s neighborhood a haven. Period jargon (“He’s a drip!”) adds authenticity. Dori prides herself on “not being especially sensible” while her spunk encourages readers to join in her escapades as coconspirators. Fully realized supporting characters leave a lasting impression. The third-person narration engages readers with witty asides and plot hints. Albus sidesteps embellishing an already upbeat ending, instead dangling two tantalizing threads for a sequel. Back matter includes fascinating facts about WWII-era New York City.
VERDICT Historical fiction at its finest: a first purchase.

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