If you haven’t read my review of One for the Murphys, please do. This book might be tied with One for the Murphys for my favorite book of the year. I closed it and thought “That was a great book.” I have a wonderful fifth grade reader who looked at me and said exactly the same thing.
Heidi was a baby when her neighbor Bernadette found her outside in the hallway with her mother. Her mother is mentally disabled. Heidi’s mom knows only 23 words, most of the common, but there is one that only Heidi’s mom says, “Soof”. Bernadette is agoraphobic. Luckily, Bernie’s apartment has a connecting door with Heidi’s apartment. Together, they survive. Bernie manages everything, including teaching Heidi, while Heidi and her mom go out to do the shopping. Heidi wonders about her past, but her mother cannot give her any clues about it nor can Bernie. One day, Heidi finds an old camera with undeveloped film. She takes it in to be developed and finds a picture of her mother at a home for the mentally disabled in New York State. Heidi is determined to find out about her mother’s past. Her search, and the answers she finds, including the meaning of “Soof” make this book incredible. Highly recommended for middle readers.