Here's more from Marly B -
After Lydia’s terminally ill mother dies, she is uprooted from her home and moves in with her Aunt Brat in a tiny farming town in Connecticut. As she adjusts, a beautiful yellow dog finds its way into the home of Lydia’s new family. The dog whines all night when crated, pees on rugs, has found a way to slip out of his collar, and proves to be a general nuisance. Lydia expects the dog to figure out how to behave eventually, but he’s not showing any signs of improving. The key to training him could be knowing his past, but with only the phone number of his old owner, Lydia will have to do a bit more digging to find out where the dog that stole her heart came from.
After reading Leslie Connor’s previous book, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, I had fairly high expectations for A Home for Goddesses and Dogs. Conner absolutely destroyed them and wrote an amazing book centered around grief and growing up. It felt like a breath of fresh air with its amazing characters and beautiful plot.
One of the first things I notice about A Home for Goddesses and Dogs is that the cast is almost entirely female. The second thing I noticed is all of the female characters are incredibly fleshed out and diverse. I don’t think I could name a middle-grade book that comes close to having better written females. The characters' interactions with each other are hilarious and realistic and just lovely in general. The relationships throughout were very tender and heartwarming which was helped by the brilliant character designs and developments. Also, the fact that there was no mean-girl troupe was appreciated greatly. We need tons more books with healthy female relationships and this book covers that very very well, both with Lydia’s parental figures and her friendships with the other girls at her school.
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs handles grief in a pretty unique way. Since Lydia’s mother was terminally ill, Lydia already had time to come to terms with her death for the most part, so it mostly handles adjusting after a loved one dies. It shows Lydia missing her mom, but it also shows her learning to form relationships with the new adults in her life. It deals with grief in a way that feels very real, showing it as an adjustment in life rather than an end to it.
I give Leslie Conner so much respect for writing realistic preteen/teen conversations. Authors have a tendency to either make preteens sound like preschoolers or tiny fifty-year-olds, but Conner definitely avoided that. Not only does she write teens well, she writes thirteen-year-olds well. The discussions Lydia has with her friends feel like things my friends and I would have talked about when we were thirteen. She totally captures that weird between middle and highschool stage perfectly and brilliantly.
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs is a book everyone should consider reading. It’s heartwarming and hilarious and just amazing in general. Despite its subject matter, it’s really a pretty happy read. I give A Home for Goddesses and Dogs a 4.75/5. Go read it!