Written by Ali Standish

Jack Bailey’s reputation in his small Appalachian town is somewhat that of a troubled teen: aloof, school drop-out, no mother, an abusive alcoholic father, and poorer than most folks in Foggy Gap. However, Danny Timmons has looked up to Jack Bailey ever since the older boy saved two toddler twins from drowning during the Great Flood of 1940. Circumstances brought the two boys together through which an unlikely bond of friendship grew in spite of their age difference. Now, with Danny’s father away fighting in the war, and his mother about to have a baby, Danny relies on Jack’s guidance more than ever.
So when Jack goes missing without a trace, Danny is determined to find him. He wonders if Jack has gone looking for an imaginary magical town called Yonder that Jack once spoke of. A place of “jewel birds and where cornstalks grew to the sky and the whole town ate at one long table. Where there was no trouble, no war.”

Through days of trying to unravel the mystery of his missing friend, Danny’s search eventually forces him to look inward, asking himself deeper questions: What should he have done toward protecting his friend from abuse? What role do each of us play in stopping injustices and standing up for what is right? What is America fighting for in the war? And, what does it mean to be brave? Thought provoking and providing insight into complex social issues, Standish ultimately directs the reader toward the endearing goodly traits of humanity, and the story concludes with a message of hope for both the reader and the characters of Foggy Gap. I loved it.

Reviewed by Kristine Kramer, Librarian, Lincoln Elementary
Review shared in August 2023
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5-8

Written by Ali Standish
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
348 pages
Release Date: May 10, 2022
ISBN: 9780062985682 (hardcover) / 9780062985699 (paperback)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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