Award-winning author Elana K. Arnold returns with an unforgettable story of the strange, wondrous threads that run between all of us, whether we know they’re there or not.
Alder has always lived in his cozy little house in Southern California. And for as long as he can remember, the old, reliable, comforting walnut tree has stood between his house and the one next door. That is, until a new family—with a particularly annoying girl his age—moves into the neighboring house and, without warning, cuts it down.
Oak doesn’t understand why her family had to move to Southern California. She has to attend a new school, find new friends, and live in a new house that isn’t even ready—her mother had to cut down a tree on their property line in order to make room for a second floor. And now a strange boy next door won’t stop staring at her, like she did something wrong moving here in the first place.
As Oak and Alder start school together, they can’t imagine ever becoming friends. But the two of them soon discover a series of connections between them—mysterious, possibly even magical puzzles they can’t put together. At least not without each other’s help.
"A low-key marvel rich in surprises, small fuzzy creatures, and friendships old and new."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Told through alternating perspectives that offer clearly rendered details, this compassionate novel gives a unique twist to familiar situations—feeling lonely, adjusting to new environments, forging new bonds—while inviting readers to open their imaginations to all sorts of wonderful possibilities."
- Publishers Weekly
"Arnold depicts the kids’ emotions, relationships, and thought processes with unusual clarity and nuance. Middle grade readers, particularly those with a taste for magical realism, will find plenty to enjoy in this quirky, original novel."
"Arnold combines the weird with the warm in this domestic fantasy, bringing realism to the kids’ struggles with both family and identity even as they deal with some very unusual circumstances... Have tissues on hand for a tearjerker of an ending—even if it is narrated by a talking opossum."
- Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books
"In this luminous story full of mystery and magic, Elana K. Arnold weaves a shimmering tapestry about the lovely and surprising ways we’re connected to each other. Heart-healing, hopeful, and wonderfully inventive, this beautiful novel by a master storyteller is not to be missed."
- Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal-winning author of The One and Only Ivan
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Published by Walden Pond Press an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers