A Home for Goddesses and Dogs, by Leslie Connor | Dedicated Review
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The Children’s Book Review | February 21, 2020
Written by Leslie Connor
Age Range: 10-14
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (February 25, 2020)
What to expect: Loss, Grief, Love, and Hope
Award-winning author Leslie Connor’s new novel, A Home for Goddesses and Dogs, is the story of an eighth-grader who has recently lost her mother and is working through her grief with the support of her aunt and the help of a rascally rescue dog. Talk of death can be an uncomfortable experience, but this emotional topic is beautifully addressed in a way that is both direct and comforting.
Lydia is starting the new year with the most significant life changes. Lydia’s mother has died from congenital heart disease, and she must now move to live with her Aunt Brat on a farm in Chelmsford, Connecticut. She brings with her only a small—but important—collection of items, including a box of unopened cards from her off-duty father and the collages of goddesses she had made with her mother. The beautiful farm acreage belongs to a kind and humorous older man, Elloroy, and they reside in the home together with Aunt Brat’s wife, Eileen, and a greyhound. On her third day on the farm, Lydia—who is not a dog person—is taken to select a rescue dog. Aunt Brat and Eileen had already had the pet adoption day on their calendar before the death of her mother. When they “manage to bring home the most troublesome leftover dog of the lot,” this big yellow rescue dog brings Lydia’s grief to light, highlighting both her strengths and her struggles. This dog could be the key to building new family connections, and helping Lydia find love, hope and her people.
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs is a subtle yet power-packed novel in which both the primary and supporting characters are well-formed, adding meaningful moments throughout the entire story. By not shying away from hard and uncomfortable conversations, author Leslie Connor imparts many nuggets of wisdom to her readers. There is a strong sense of independent women, and Lydia’s desire to be helpful and a contributing member to her home is admirable. Both art and pet therapy are interwoven throughout and showcased as prevalent coping mechanisms. It’s refreshing to see LGBTQ representation fit so naturally into the story, too.
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs reaches deep and successfully pulls on the heartstrings. Dog lovers, those grieving, those who know someone who is grieving, and any young goddesses that love an excellent realistic story will find comfort in the way that Lydia processes her pain. This novel will surely be a big and important story when it reaches the children who need it most.
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About the Author
Leslie Connor is the author of several award-winning books for children, including two ALA Schneider Family Book Award winners, Waiting for Normal and The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, which was also selected as a National Book Award finalist. Her other books include All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, Crunch, and The Things You Kiss Goodbye. She lives in the Connecticut woods with her family and three rescue dogs. You can visit her online at www.leslieconnor.com.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This non-biased review of Leslie Connor’s “A Home for Goddesses and Gods” was sponsored by HarperCollins Children’s Books. Learn more about getting a book review …
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