Summary: A Duet for Home
After writing six Vanderbeeker books, author Karina Yan Glaser has written a standalone middle grade title. In A Duet for Home, 12-year-old June, her younger sister Mabel, and her mother are forced to move into Huey House, a homeless shelter in New York City. June’s mother has become non-verbal since their father died a few months ago, so June has to care for Mabel on her own.
At Huey House, June meets Tyrell and the two form a friendship on the back of their shared love for music. June also starts getting viola lessons from a next-door neighbor. But just when she’s finding her footing at Huey House, she finds out through Tyrell that the government is trying to get people out of the home before they’re ready and sending them to unsafe neighborhoods. Can June and Tyrell make a difference?
I loved that this book is told from both kids’ perspectives. I listened to the audiobook, which was a much better experience than the e-copy and the narrators do a great job bringing the story to life. June is such a likable character and my heart went out to her for being in such a difficult position and having to be an adult so young.
Tyrell has a prankster reputation but is also dealing with his worries and insecurities. His mother is not supportive and his best friend may be moving out of Huey House soon, leaving Tyrell all alone. With June in the picture, he gets the chance to learn how to play a new musical instrument — something he’s always dreamed of.
This book shines a bright light into the lives of people at a homeless shelter. There’s a lot of community and support, but also plenty of insecurity with constantly changing government policies. It’s also hard to feel at home when you can’t cook your own meals or be in full control of your schedules. Yet, in typical Karina Yan Glaser fashion, this story isn’t too hard to read; it still manages to warm and huggable in most places.
Finally, a big part of the story is the way the kids try to make a difference when their stay at the homeless shelter is in jeopardy. The resolution is a bit hard to believe, but the happy ending is much needed and heartwarming.
Overall: A Duet for Home
A Duet for Home is a warm, realistic, and inspiring middle grade book about homelessness, grief, and a love of music. Told from dual, alternating narrators, this story provides an all-round look at both characters and their struggles. It’s sublime on audio and perfect for anyone looking for a true-to-life, but hopeful, heartwarming story.
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More Book Reviews
- The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue by Karina Yan Glaser
- Birdie’s Billions by Edith Cohn
- It All Begins with Jelly Beans by Nova Weetman
Rosi Hollinbeck says
Homelessness is such a terrible problem. Kids need to have a better understanding of it, and this book sounds like a good vehicle for that. I’ll look for it. Thanks for the post.