The Long Way Home
Family Tree Book 2
Ann M. Martin
Scholastic Press, November 2013
The story begins in 1955 when Dana and her twin sister turn seven years old. Dana loves New York City where her family lives in a spacious townhouse and they all get to dress up for taxi rides to fine restaurants and glamorous parties in honor of her famous writer father. She attends a private school and excels in art. In fact, her father persuades his editor to let her illustrate one of his novels.
In the first third of the book, accounts of important events in Dana’s life are told with childlike optimism and revolve around typical childhood problems. (Even the reverse attributions—said Dana rather than Dana said—remind one of children’s books of yore.) Each chapter is dated several months apart as the reader follows Dana and her family from year to year.
Then, tragedy strikes, and Dana’s charmed life takes twists and turns that turn her life upside down. During her teen years, Dana must use all of her inner resources to adapt and survive as she makes her way home, in all senses of the word. Right along with Dana, the reader cringes when the world tosses her a curve and smiles when she zips back with force.
Ann M. Martin skillfully weaves all kinds of life issues into this story. The flawed characters and real-life situations let each reader form opinions about the characters’ actions and approaches to life. At the same time, the historical setting is well-drawn and the coming-of-age story believable. Preteens and up will enjoy this story and want to read other books in the series.
Reviewed by Joyce Ann Brown, March 2016.
Author of cozy mysteries: Catastrophic Connections and Furtive Investigation, the first two Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries.