Summary: Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream
Willow (Lolo) Weaver’s summer is not going well. Her grandfather has recently died, her grandma isn’t herself, and she’s given away her grandfather’s foster dog, Hank. Lolo’s mother is heavily pregnant, and Lolo is in summer school because she didn’t do too well in her last exams. On top of that, their lake town isn’t a lake town anymore because the lake’s been drained and smells awful now. Lolo wants to help her grandmother feel better, and she’s convinced that getting back her grandfather’s dog will do the trick. The only problem is that the dog now belongs to someone else. So Lolo gets on Pop’s boat to steal Hank back—only to run into her summer school classmate, Noah (who’s the new dog owner).
I really enjoyed Lolo’s story. It’s strongly reminiscent of classics like Ramona and Lolo’s voice leaps off the pages. The setting is also an unmistakable part of this story and the story feels drenched in summer. The second I cracked open this story, I was transported to Lolo’s sleepy small town in the high summer heat, the drudgery of summer school, and the midst of Lolo’s grieving family. Lolo is desperate to fill the void left by her wonderful grandfather and wants to rush her grandmother’s grief along so that she can be herself again. But as she learns, it’s not always that easy.
This story is not weighed down by the grief, and there are actually so many funny scenes, especially with Lolo’s summer school class and friends. I also loved Lolo and Noah’s adventure to bring Hank back home. The whole narrative arc was surprisingly suspenseful, and I couldn’t help but root for these kids. My heart went out to Lolo, who always feels like she’s the reason why everything’s gone awry. I also laughed plenty at her way of seeing the world.
Finally, the writing in this book is exceptional, making it perfect for family readalouds, especially for kids in grades 3-5 (I’m happy our kid reviewer agrees with me on this one!). I look forward to exploring more books by this author.
- Death: Death of a grandparent referenced
- Alcohol/substance abuse: None
- Violence: None
- Sexual content: None
- Ethnic: Most characters cued white
- Sexual orientation: None
Recommended for ages: 8+
Good for kids who like:
- Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
- Gentle adventure stories
- Books about dogs
- Stories with unlikely friendships
- Small town stories
“My mom read this book to me, and I think it’s a good book. Each chapter kept me asking for her to keep reading! If you like adventure, I think you might like this book.”
Alex Greene, Age 8.5
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