"Have you ever in your life come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on you?"
Fans of Kate DiCamillo have probably already read or heard about her newest novel, Raymie Nightingale which came out last April. But I only just finished it last week. Not because I hadn't seen it around (I pre-ordered it on Amazon, it's been sitting on my nightstand) ... I was procrastinating. The more I heard people talk about it the further it got pushed down my "to read" list. And sometimes books get pushed so far down on that list that I never get around to reading them. But I am so glad that I finally got to this gem.
Raymie Nightingale is the story of how friendship and loss help shape Raymie Clark. The story begins with Raymie's mission, her "plan". She must win the title of Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975. Because doing so would mean she'd have her picture in the paper. And if her picture was in the paper, her father would come back home. Raymie befriends two other girls entering the same contest. Louisiana lives with her eccentric grandma, and needs to win the contest so she has enough money to get her cat Archie back. Beverly, daughter of a former beauty queen, doesn't want to win the contest, she wants to sabotage the contest. Three very different girls come together to form an incredible friendship, and the "Three Rancheros" help each other overcome fears and accomplish the unimaginable.
This book gave me goosebumps. Fans of Because of Winn-Dixie will love this similarly deep, stirring story of friendship and loss. And when you finish Raymie's story, check out Demi's illustrated biography of Florence Nightingale - it even has the glowing lamp on the cover!