Grace Abernathy is stuck in the dark funk of grief. Her dad, a policeman, was shot as he left the station early to come to one of her games. Even though there's no logical reason for her to blame herself for pushing him to come, logic isn't in her vocabulary these days. Fortunately, that's a good thing because when her older sister, Regan, bullies her into agreeing to adopt a stray from the shelter so Regan can train it as a rescue dog, the first one Grace sees starts talking to her.
Grace knows Regan will dump the responsibility of training Rex on her, but the more Rex talks to her, the more she starts accepting the impossible. Not only does he dog help her with answers, he gives her information that helps Grace stop a crime. Meanwhile, her grades are plummeting, she's avoiding her friends and if it weren't for her having to take Rex to training, she's probably curl up in her room and never show her face.
Rex won't let her, and when she realizes that JJ, one of the kids in her training class, was in the car with whoever shot her dad, she's determined to hound him until he tells her who really shot her dad. Once again, her new dog's odd wisdom forces Grace to realize that JJ is someone her father saw as worth saving from the gangs. How she accomplishes solving her father's murder and builds a bridge, not only with JJ, but with her friends and her mom, makes for a great read. Juvenile readers (and animal-loving teens and adults) will really like this book, particularly those with grief or loss issues or older siblings who aren't particularly reliable. While sad in spots, it's a true feel-good book by the end.