Raymie Nightingale - Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

This is a delightfully sweet and quiet book. I think Monica Edinger says it best in her review, noting DiCamillo's signature writing style: 
In tight chapters that are sometimes barely three pages, crisp paragraphs (DiCamillo is the master of the one sentence paragraph), and elegantly crafted sentences, Raymie Nightingale is a book to savor, to read and re-read. Fans will recognize DeCamillo’s unique wry voice as it gives readers vivid images, dizzying ideas, humor, heart-wrenching emotions,and gorgeous, gorgeous language.
I do wish the novel had been a bit longer (to more fully develop the relationships), and I was definitely (pleasantly) surprised by the direction of the plot considering the initial setup (don't worry, no spoilers!) The wit and humour really drive the story and keep it from becoming to emotionally heavy. In the end, though, as with pretty much everything the DiCamillo writes, I would Highly Recommend this novel!

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out April 12, 2016)


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