Three Rancheros #2: Louisiana’s Way Home – Kate DiCamillo

“It is a long and tragic story full of dark alleys and twists and turns and many unexpected happenings,” I said. “And also curses. There are curses in the story.”

When Louisiana’s Granny wakes her at 3am, bundles her in the car and starts driving, Louisiana assumes this is just another one of Granny’s “middle-of-the-night ideas”. But this time Granny keeps driving and Louisiana wonders if she’ll ever see Raymie and Beverly (her two best friends), Archie the King of the Cats or one eyed dog Buddy again.

Louisiana’s story should be devastating and believe me when I tell you that parts of it are (have tissues on hand), but Louisiana’s perseverance, determination and courage transforms her story into one of hope. My main niggle was that while Louisiana did express sadness, anger and confusion about her circumstances, the extent of those very understandable feelings appeared to be glossed over on occasion in the rush to find the positive.

This is Louisiana’s second appearance in a Kate DiCamillo book but the first of Kate’s books I’ve read. After falling in love with Louisiana I’ve ordered Raymie Nightingale from the library (I love my library!). While I could easily jump straight into reading Louisiana’s Way Home without having already read Raymie Nightingale I want to get to know Raymie and Beverly. I‘m keen to find out what Louisiana was up to two years ago and am very interested in learning more about Louisiana’s relationship with her Granny.

Louisiana is simply adorable and I was equally fond of many of the people she meets along the way. I also appreciated the roles the cantankerous characters played and I loved that the author was able to bring all of the characters to life, even those we only meet briefly. I want to tell you all about the different characters that I fell in love with but I don’t want to spoil anything for you so instead will encourage you to discover them all for yourself.

In some ways, this is a story of woe and confusion, but it is also a story of joy and kindness and free peanuts.

Louisiana’s story is ultimately one of family, friendship and deciding who you want to be. This young girl is going to find her way into the hearts of so many readers, children and adults alike. I already know that I’m going to want to reread this book once I’ve read Raymie Nightingale and I expect that I’m going to need to read more of this author’s books as soon as possible.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reread 12 June 2019

I am absolutely in love with this book! I didn’t think I could love Louisiana more than I did when I first read her story but I was so wrong. I want to hug her and make her feel safe and wanted and loved, and never let her go. This story is about deciding who you are, something we all need to do. Louisiana just has to make that decision earlier than most people. It’s a heartbreaking and heartwarming story and it’s gorgeous!

I appreciated the Allen family more with this reread too. All of the Burke Allen’s and the sole Betty Allen are my new favourite people; I want to bake with Betty and hang out with every Burke. I want to meet Clarence and let him know he can trust me.

I finally read Raymie Nightingale and jumped straight into this reread. I realise now that there are spoilers in this book for Raymie so I’d recommend reading the Three Rancheros books in publication order. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to read Beverly’s story early and will be starting Beverly, Right Here right now!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are – and deciding who you want to be.

When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return.

Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town – including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder – she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

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