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Gaby, Lost and Found Hardcover – July 30, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–When Gaby Ramirez Howard's mother is deported back to Honduras, the sixth-grader's life is anything but stable. Her father often forgets to purchase food, but worse, neglects his daughter emotionally. She is an outcast at St. Ann's where classmates tease her about her family life. With everything falling apart, the protagonist finds strength and self-confidence in the class service project at their local animal shelter. She showcases her writing skills, creating individual profiles for each animal. Although her life parallels many of the abandoned pets, Gaby takes on the role of protector and defender. Her profiles and hard work help many animals find a new home and a true family, something that Gaby is lacking. The plot and tone are spiced with Spanish words along with tidbits of Honduran culture. The author humanizes the controversial issue of illegal immigration and paints an emotionally compelling story. The short chapters and simple plot will keep readers engaged. Kids will be initially attracted by the animal-shelter theme but ultimately maintain interest due to Gaby's absorbing story. The novel provides a glimpse into the lives of young people growing up in modern society, and is a welcome addition to middle-school collections.–Mary-Brook J. Townsend, The McGillis School, Salt Lake City, UTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gaby’s mom, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras, was swiftly deported after her factory was raided. Now Gaby clings to the notion that her mother is on the way home to her again. Meanwhile, she tries to navigate life with her newly custodial dad, who had left the family years before, and face down a couple of classmates who taunt her over the deportation. On a happier note, Gaby enjoys the support of many others from the school community, and she derives immense satisfaction from her class-service project with the local animal shelter. She identifies with the pets’ abandonment issues and writes them up in individual profiles guaranteed to melt hearts and pull readers in. Cervantes tackles immigration issues bluntly in this affecting novel. Youngsters will feel Gaby’s despair as she ponders her mother’s options and the possibility of their future together. No sugarcoated or quick-fix endings exist in this politically sensitive coming-of-age story, a thought-provoking look at the human face of immigration policy. Grades 4-7. --Anne OMalley
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The writer had the right balance of action and introspection with an original but believable voice, especially with the young teenage boys. I enjoyed reading the story, which is a quick read, and becoming immersed in the novel. This is a book I'd give to my nieces or nephews, or any child or teen who has suffered loss.
Cervantes' writing style flows wonderfully well and kept me turning the pages to see what happened next. Thank you for touching my heart with this story - it will stay with me for a long time.