Summary: Beverly, Right Here
It’s the summer of 1979. 14-year-old Beverly Tapinski leaves home and arrives at the Seahorse Court RV community in Florida. She’s grieving the death of her (and the Three Rancheros’ dog, Buddy) and has left her friend Raymie without even saying goodbye. Beverly’s alcoholic mother Rhonda doesn’t care much about what happens to her.
All alone and away from home, Beverly meets an older, eccentric woman named Iola. Iola takes Beverly in and the two begin to build a friendship despite Beverly’s initial resistance. She also gets a job as a busgirl at a fish place, even though she hates fish. Then she meets 16-year-old Elmer who wants to study engineering at Dartmouth.
Oh, this book is so beautifully written. For the first time since I started this series, I could appreciate the DiCamillo hype. Beverly, Right Here is the perfect blend of sparse prose, poignant musings, and just brilliant characterization.
All the characters in this book are so quirky and yet represent so much of what we know in life today. In Iola, we see the challenges of aging and loneliness and yet how big and brave her heart is. And of course, sweet, smart Elmer with the unsightly acne. Yet, DiCamillo’s prose forces you to unearth the people under all of those layers.
The setting of this book also felt much realer to me than those of the other previous books in the series. And who could read this without feeling Beverly’s need to be seen, to be loved. More importantly, she also learns to give that love to others.
Beverly’s character is massively under-explored in Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana’s Way Home, so it was refreshing to see her get her moment. She has such a gift, that Beverly, of seeing people for who they truly are. It made my heart so happy that she saw Elmer and was never for a second put off by whatever was on the outside.
Overall: Beverly, Right Here
Ah, what more can I say?
Beverly, Right Here is the perfect finale to Kate DiCamillo’s wonderful series. This book is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. But above all else, it highlights the importance of seeing the good in others, the need to trust and rely on other people, and the power of letting people in.
If you’re looking for a book with complex, utterly lovable characters, and insightful dialogue, pick up Beverly, Right Here!
Buy This Book
More Middle-Grade Reviews
- Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
- The Rules of the Ruff by Heidi Lang
- Emily Out of Focus by Miriam Spitzer Franklin
Have you read any of the books in this series? Which is your favorite? Which books by Kate DiCamillo have you read? What did you think? I’d love to know!