Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 6 - 8Grades 4 - 6n/a5.041961

From acclaimed author Sarah Weeks comes a touching coming-of-age story about a young girl who goes on a cross-country journey to discover the truth about her parents, which the New York Times called "a remarkable novel." Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me and Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish.

She doesn't know when her birthday is or who her father is. In fact, everything about Heidi and her mentally disabled mother's past is a mystery. When a strange word in her mother's vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi sets out on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past. Far away from home, pieces of her puzzling history come together. But it isn't until she learns to accept not knowing that Heidi truly arrives.

Hardcover, 245 pages
Published on April 27, 2004 by HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 0439799864
ISBN-13: 9780439793346
33 Book Reviews
  • LeLeover 6 years
    It is my favorite book so far I was addicted to it when I was reading it. It is amazing and so deep.
    • LoLo over 6 years
      • slos
        slosover 6 years55 starsFeatured
        The story takes place in Reno, NV and Liberty, NY, but most of the action takes place on the bus ride to Liberty. The time is current day. Heidi, Bernie and Mama are the main characters and they are all totally believable. I liked Heidi the most, since she is the main character and struggles the most in finding the true story to her life. She doesn't want much in the world, but does want to find out where she came from and who her family is. I am amazed at how well Heidi has done in life with the cards that she has been dealt. She has a mother who has a bum brain and has been home-schooled by her caring neighbor, Bernie. Although she doesn't interact too much with the outside world, Heidi seems pretty smart and prepared for the real world. I can relate to Heidi a little bit since I never was able to meet my grandparents. I have felt the same way in that I wanted to find out more about them since I never met them. The problem in the story is that Heidi has a mother who is mentally challenged (only speaks limited words) and therefore, Heidi has no idea who any of her family members are. She wants to find out who her family is so she ventures out to Liberty, NY in hopes of finding her grandmother who was once believed to be in a photo found in a closet in her home. The problem is solved when Heidi manages to take a long bus adventure to Hilltop Home and meets people who steer her toward the information that she needs. I won't tell more in fear of giving away the ending. I love the ending, but found it to be very different from what I expected- which is great for a reader. What I like about this book is that students will get a better understanding of people with disabilities and how life can be affected in various ways. Heidi learns to never give up on her dream and continues her search for her family. I learned that not everything is exactly as you would expect it to be and not all stories end happily or the way that you want them to end. Fifth graders and above should read this book and would learn from it because it teaches them about broken families and how to be successful in life. I rate this book a 10/10 due to the wonderful things that I learned about mental illness and perseverance.
        • kuo
          kuoalmost 7 years55 stars
          it sounds interesting should I read it?
          • adri2005
            adri2005about 7 years44 stars
            Its trilling
            • lilliankor
              lilliankorabout 7 years
              i want to read it. i did this on a reveiw to
              • lilliankor
                lilliankorabout 7 years
                I heard this book was very good so this would be my next book to read. I'm interested in the summary too.
                • anonymousover 7 years
                  This was a very sad book and it shows how Heidi can cope with all of the difficulties in her life.
                  • houston
                    houstonover 7 years
                    I love this book its so sad
                    • mandm2000
                      mandm2000about 8 years55 stars
                      I love it because it is about a girl and her mom. Her mom has a mental illness and the girl is trying to help.