Summary: Raymie Nightingale
This is the first book in Kate DiCamillo’s much revered set of companion novels and I understand the hype now. I didn’t even know about these books until Louisiana’s Way Home released last year (2018). For reference, Raymie Nightingale was published in 2016. My interest in these books was officially piqued when the third book, Beverly, Right Here was announced earlier this year. After scoring an ARC of Beverly (out in September), I thought it would only be right to read the books in order.
In Raymie Nightingale, set in the 1970’s (as all three books are) we meet three very different girls. Raymie Clarke, Louisiana Elefante, and Beverly Tapinski meet at their baton twirling lessons. All three girls — mostly the first two — hope to enter and win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. Beverly hopes to sabotage the contest. Raymie hopes that winning the contest will cause her father who eloped with a dental hygienist to return to their family. And, poor Louisiana just wants some money and food for her grandmother and herself — two squatters subsisting on tuna.
The setting was very disorienting at first, because historical fiction isn’t my thing. But the wonderful thing about this book and the series so far is how much these girls have grown on me. I enjoyed meeting all three girls and watching DiCamillo build their characters so effortlessly. The writing in this book is near-flawless. You may hate the plot or even the characters, but DiCamillo sure can write. Plus, the audio for this one is excellent!
Overall: Raymie Nightingale
While Raymie isn’t my favorite of the three girls, I enjoyed this charming introduction to the Three Rancheros. Raymie Nightingale is a testimony to the formation of unlikely friendships and shows that love, light, and humor can exist in even the darkest times of our lives. If you’re looking for a funny, engaging, and heartwarming middle-grade series about female friendships and challenging family situations, this is for you!
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Have you read this book or anything by Kate DiCamillo? What did you think? What are your favorite books about female friendships? I’d love to know!
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