The Way to Stay in Destiny…New Middle Grades Historical Fiction


Scattergood, Augusta. The Way to Stay in Destiny. New York: Scholastic, 2015. 978-0545538244. 592p. $16.99. Gr. 4-6.

In the wake of the Vietnam War, Theo finds himself uprooted from his grandparents when they find themselves too old to care for him.  His Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam vet and loner, agrees to take on Theo. Theo gets off the bus in Destiny and lands at Miss Sister Grandersole’s Boarding House and School of Dance, where Uncle Raymond rents a room.  Alone during the summer days, Theo  meets Annabel, a fellow baseball fan who is avoiding Miss Sister. He also discovers Miss Sister has a beautiful piano. This feel good novel is a great reflection of the time period in which America was at odds with treatment of returning soldiers and defined gender roles.  Scattergood uses humor, friendship, and family to create a story of how sometimes places choose people to live there, not the other way around.

A gentle coming of age story about a boy who is defining family and his place in the world, the novel would be geared towards upper elementary school students in grades four through 8.  Readers will fall in love with the characters, and the plot is rich in mystery and adventure in Destiny, a town defined by its name.

Historical Fiction (Vietnam War)      Brooke Gerlach, Manheim Central MS

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