Think of Raymie Nightingale and remember the charming ranchero and partner in baton twirling, Louisiana Elefante. Here she is telling the story of her and her grandmother's wild ride from Florida to Georgia as Granny says, to confront the curse. What she ends up confronting is a car out of gas, a granny in need of dental surgery, and hard-hearted Bernice of the Good Night, Sleep Tight motel. In a welcome reprieve from the uncertainty of her plight, Louisiana gives us all we need to know about her new friend Burke Ellis when she observes, "He was the kind of person who, if you asked him for one of something, gave you two instead." A sad story, Louisiana warns us, but she is resourceful and is, in the end, forgiving in a world where she is lucky enough to meet Burke Allen and his loving family and know the rancheros are a state line away.
Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo ($16.99*, Candlewick), recommended by Square Books, Oxford, MS.