Review by Booklist Review
Gr. 5^-7. As is her wont, Creech sends readers along on a thoughtful young character's life-changing odyssey. Having lived in 13 states in 12 years, Domenica Santolina Doone, Dinnie for short, has been traveling all her life; but it's still a shock when her parents suddenly hand her over to Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy, and she finds herself headed for the American School in Lugano, Switzerland, where Max is headmaster. During a thoroughly broadening year learning to ski and to speak Italian and re-examining preconceptions about herself and other people, Dinnie gradually loses her sense of being insulated from the world. As if fresh, smart characters in a picturesque setting weren't engaging enough, Creech also poses an array of knotty questions, both personal and philosophical--why, for instance, do Dinnie's parents send her away and subsequently become so uncommunicative? Why by school's end is Dinnie eagerly looking forward to rejoining her family (now living in Bybanks, Kentucky, site of Chasing Redbird ), facing a tough decision about where to go to school next year. A story to stimulate both head and heart: wise, witty, and worth the money. --John Peters
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
A light first-person narrative and some insightful dream flashes (taken from the protagonist's journal) convey an uprooted 13-year-old's coming of age. Domenica Santolina Doone ("It's a mouthful, so most people call me Dinnie"), whose father is always in search of "the right opportunity," has already lived in 12 different cities. With her father on the road, her older brother Crick in jail and her 16-year-old sister, Stella, giving birth, it's little surprise that Dinnie is "kidnapped" by her aunt and uncle and taken from her "little New Mexico hill town" to the American School in Lugano, Switzerland, where the pair work. Tired of always being on the move, Dinnie is determined not to get attached to her newest environment ("I won't adjust! I won't adapt! I won't! I'll rebel!"), but surrounded by other "foreigners"students from all corners of the worldshe finds it easier than she had imagined to make friends. Guthrie, a classmate, helps her see a sense of possibility, or "bloomability," and to grow from her experiences. Creech (Walk Two Moons) skims the surface of Dinnie's gradual emergence from her protective "bubble" rather than delving into Dinnie's feelings about the deeper ramifications of her family's unraveling. The author tells rather than shows the poignant moments (e.g., Dinnie has no reaction when her parents forget her on Christmas; her friend Lila's vacillating moods go unexplained), which results in a reportlike view of the school year, rather than insight into the purported change in Dinnie. Some readers wishing to glimpse an adventure abroad may think this is just the ticket; however, fans of the author's previous works will likely miss her more fully realized characters. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-This honest, hopeful slice of adolescent life successfully explores how Domenica Santolina Doone, known as Dinnie, comes to terms with her past and establishes a secure identity for the future. Creech's skill at character development and subtle, effective use of metaphor shine in this first-person narrative with crisp, appropriately titled chapters. Deliberately, Creech introduces Dinnie as somewhat of a nonentity. Readers don't learn much about the specifics of her family life, only that her older sister and brother tend to get into various kinds of trouble, and that her parents are always looking for a new "opportunity" in some other town. By the second chapter, Dinnie explains that she's been "kidnapped" by her Aunt Sandy and Uncle Max, who take her with them to Switzerland to attend the school where Max is headmaster. In Dinnie's "second life" in Europe, her family continues to neglect her, forgetting even to let her know where they've relocated. Dinnie gradually adjusts to her new environment as she makes friends with other students from around the world: exuberant Guthrie; bitter Lila; and language-mangling Keisuke, who says "bloomable" when he means "possible." Together, these middle schoolers share classes and adventures, and explore ideas and emotions. As she reflects on her friends, her kind aunt and uncle, and her own vivid dreams, the youngster no longer sees herself as "Dinnie the dot in my bubble." Everyone can relate to the hard struggles of life, but, as the heroine comes to realize, the world is still full of "bloomability."-Peg Solonika, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
(Intermediate) Thirteen-year-old Domenica Santolina Doone-Dinnie-is used to being a stranger. She and her family have moved many times, all over the United States, following her father in search of great opportunities. Dinnie is given her own great opportunity, whether she wants it or not, when her aunt and uncle take her to Lugano, Switzerland. Her uncle has been appointed headmaster of the American School and Dinnie is to be a pupil. For her, the year is one of "bloomability" (a word coined by a Japanese fellow student meaning "possibility"). In the beginning, she dreams of herself in a bubble, looking out at the world; gradually, her dreams change as, reluctantly at first, she allows experiences, diverse new friends, and unexpected and challenging ideas to enter through the pores in this bubble, pushing its walls further and further out. Dinnie says, "I'd always felt as if I were in a sort of suspension, waiting to see how things worked, waiting to see who I was and what sort of life I might lead." Creech surrounds her with a lively, sympathetic, often amusing cast of adult and adolescent characters, and Dinnie herself is an appealing narrator. It's Dinnie's own family, still wandering the U.S. while she's in Switzerland, who don't fully come to life. Dinnie's attachment to and homesickness for them is talked about rather than truly felt, and her two aunts, Grace and Tillie, with their repeated postcard messages, become tiresome. Although Bloomability itself feels less unified than the author's previous books, at the end Creech links them when she sends Dinnie "home" for the summer to Bybanks, Kentucky, a town already familiar to her readers. nancy bond From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Creech (Chasing Redbird, 1997, etc.) plies the threads of love and loss, separation and belonging, into another deeply felt novel; while it is no sin for a writer to repeatedly explore such themes, a certain sameness is descending upon her books. Dinnie Santolina, 13, loves her family, even though her father is always in search of the next irresistible opportunity and her mother is happy to follow him. But when brother Crick finally gets into enough trouble to go to jail and sister Stella comes home at 16 both married and pregnant, Dinnie finds herself quite suddenly in Switzerland, where Uncle Max is the new headmaster at an international American school. Dinnie has had a lot of experience being the stranger, but here, with her warm and charming aunt and uncle, and among students of many nationalities, she explores the meaning of home through her dreams, the mountains, forests, and towns near Lake Lugano, and a curriculum where her classmates decide that thinking really is homework. She becomes friends with Lila, whose erratic behavior mirrors even more erratic parents, Keisuke, whose fractured English paints word-pictures (``bloomable'' for possible), his Spanish girlfriend Belen, and the irrepressible Guthrie, who delights in all things. Metaphors mixed in several languages, dream images of snow and distance, and the bittersweet terrors of adolescence will keep readers turning the pages and regretful to reach the last one. (Fiction. 9-14)
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