Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life

Ages: 8 - 12Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman BooksAuthor: Susan Hill Long


When we first meet Josie Bloom, the 11-year-old heroine of Susan Hill Long’s new novel, Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life, she is at her wit’s end. After having been abandoned by her father before her birth and then losing her mother, Josie is now left with the responsibility of caring for her elderly grandfather, who has recently developed a passion for gambling and building squirrel houses. Frightened that her grandfather will default on the mortgage and be confined to a retirement home, Josie concocts a series of elaborate schemes to keep the bills paid and conceal his increasingly erratic behavior from the other adults in her life.

Along the way, Josie’s plans are sidetracked and her life enriched by a host of colorful characters, including her best friend Winky, a visually impaired sports enthusiast who dreams of playing baseball; Joe Viola, a down-on-his-luck former professional baseball star; and Mrs. Blyth-Barrow, a kind-hearted local teacher who takes an unexpected interest in Josie and her grandfather. For all her schemes and attempted deceptions, Josie is an appealing and sympathetic character. Her stubborn optimism, quirky sense of humor and inexhaustible love for trivia bring a sense of lightness and joy to even the most stressful situations. Author Susan Hill Long peppers the narrative with fascinating literary and historical references, including the poetry of Emily Dickinson, the novels of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, the geodesic architecture of Buckminster Fuller, and the wisdom of the 14th-century German mystic, Henry Suso.


David Shirley ©2020 Parents’ Choice

David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.

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