STARRED REVIEW
September 12, 2017

Following GPS clues to big answers

By Kate Messner

In this companion to her 2009 novel, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, Kate Messner satisfyingly reaffirms her ability to hone in on the concerns of young readers.

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In this companion to her 2009 novel, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, Kate Messner satisfyingly reaffirms her ability to hone in on the concerns of young readers.

Kirby Zigonski Jr. goes by Zig, just like his dad once did. Zig Senior is something of a high roller, and it’s always lots of fun when he’s around. Problem is, he hasn’t been around for over a year. Zig buries his disappointment in a preoccupation with electronics and strong friendships with two girl pals. But Zig’s foreboding that something is wrong proves accurate.

When Zig and his mom are evicted from their apartment, Zig discovers it’s because child support hasn’t been coming for several months. Even when they end up in a homeless shelter, Zig’s mom still isn’t talking about his father’s conspicuous absence, leaving Zig to become obsessed with discovering his whereabouts. This obsession manifests in a conviction that Zig Senior is behind numerous geocaches in the area, and Zig searches these out recklessly.

The characters here are believable, particularly as they are solidly portrayed through the lens of Zig’s middle school-aged sensibilities. Zig’s attempts to hide the shame of his family’s homelessness are realistically poignant. While readers may wonder why Zig’s mother chooses to keep the truth of Zig’s father a secret, it does permit Zig to imagine hopeful explanations, something with which many young readers will identify.

 

Diane Colson is the Library Director at City College in Gainesville, Florida.

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The Exact Location of Home

The Exact Location of Home

By Kate Messner
Bloomsbury
ISBN 9781681195483

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