The Echo Park Castaways
Written by M. G. Hennessey
Told in an enlightening yet gentle way, this is the story of four typical children who fall into the foster care system in Los Angeles County. Each child develops coping mechanisms unique to them, as is true in real life. The tale is told in the voices of three of the children, with rotating parts. Very effective for getting inside their heads and helping the reader understand motivations or their actions.
Vic is Latinx and strongly ADHD. He creates fantasies and is currently on a spy mission. Nevaeh (heaven backwards) is black and tries to be the little mother. She just wants to get through the system and become a doctor so she doesn’t have to depend on anyone else. Quentin has Asperger’s and is therefore ritualistic in his approach. He’s focused on finding his mother. The fourth child, Mara, barely speaks English and is definitely a follower.
Vic decides to make finding Quentin’s mother his next mission, so they set off across Los Angeles. Mara follows them, in her pajamas. Nevaeh chases them down. Three buses, a Metro ride, an ambulance ride, and a lot of walking later, they have learned a lot about each other and about the world.
Readers will learn a lot without being preached to. You can’t help but love each and every character, even the pit bull who threatens them.
- Title: The Echo Park Castaways
- Author: M. G. Hennessey
- Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, 2019
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
- Grade Level: 3 to 7
- Genre: Foster care, Family
- ISBN: 978-0-06-242769-4