BookPage Children’s Top Pick, February 2017
Paul Mosier’s debut middle grade venture is luminous and heartrending, populated by poetry, sharp wit and wonderfully original characters with voices that sing from the pages and pierce your very bones.
Twelve-year-old Rydr boards an Amtrak train in California, the start of a three-day journey that will take her to her new home in Chicago, where she will live with a distant relative she’s never met. Rydr hopes this journey will help her forget about her past and erase the pain that comes with those memories. Little does she know that this trip will have the exact opposite effect, forcing her to confront those scars head-on. But she doesn’t have to brave this experience alone. Accompanied by a cast of eccentric, lovable characters, Rydr will learn how to come to terms with the events that have brought her to this point, how to let her guard down and let people in and, perhaps the most important lesson of all, how to let herself feel, whether those feelings are good or bad.
Though this book may be marketed for middle school readers, Train I Ride is steeped in such genuine feeling and depth that it can be enjoyed and related to by anyone, of any age. Mosier strikes the perfect key, never straying into territory too verbose or too spare, but finding the right balance between the two. This is an extremely well-written and thoughtful story from a stellar voice in middle grade literature and beyond.