The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner

Published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Summary:  Zig (a supporting character from the author’s The Fall of Gianna Z.) is disappointed when his father stands him up yet again.  His mom won’t tell him where his dad has gone off to, and Zig develops his own theory when he takes up geocaching.  He discovers a geocacher who calls himself “Senior Searcher,” and he’s sure it must be his father, who uses the nickname Senior.  Meanwhile, money is getting tighter at home, and Zig’s mom finally gets evicted.  She and Zig spend a few nights at her sister’s house, but the sister’s abusive husband forces them out, and they wind up in a homeless shelter.  Zig is so embarrassed about his situation that he cuts off his friends and starts struggling in school.  A geocaching adventure reveals the sad truth about his father, but also results in a new job and home for him and his mom, as Zig learns that friends and family can help you through even the toughest situations.  256 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A poignant and heartwarming look at a family struggling with poverty and a parent who is in prison.  Zig is a sympathetic character, and readers will gain insight about other kids who may be going through more difficult circumstances than they let on.

Cons:  The geocaching details at the beginning made for a bit of a slow start to the book.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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