Sharon Creech was born in South Euclid, Ohio, in 1945, and received her B.A. from Hiram College. This actually means something to me, as I currently live fairly close to both places. However, she spent a lot of summers in Kentucky, got an M.A. from George Mason University, and then proceeded to live in England and Switzerland, none of which I’ve done or even come close to doing. Her novels, which are generally realistic fiction, have won a good deal of awards, including the Newbery, Carnegie, and Young People’s Reader’s Choice awards. This volume won the Newbery Award in 1995.

This bittersweet novel has two plots interwoven. One is the main story, Sal’s story, where she is taking a trip with her grandparents across the country in a car to go visit her mother, and the other is Sal’s friend Phoebe’s story, which Sal is relating to her grandparents as they travel. Both stories involve girls whose mothers left for various reasons, and their ways of dealing with the situation. Sal’s story is set in Bybanks, Kentucky, where she used to live; in Euclid, Ohio, where they moved after Sal’s mom left; and in the car, going to Idaho. Phoebe’s story is set almost exclusively in Euclid, Ohio. (more…)