April 8, 2016

Review: Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee




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GabbyNewI was curious to start authors Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee’s Maybe A Fox. For one thing, the title was unique and the novel’s premise—promising a heartbreaking story about two sisters separated by loss—was one that touched especially close to my heart. As the older sister to a nine-year-old, Maybe A Fox is most older sibling’s worst nightmares (which I’ll get into later). Maybe A Fox, despite being marketed toward a middle grade audience, is a novel that brought me to tears almost every single chapter, and in the end left me sobbing. Maybe A Fox is a heartbreaking, beautiful read that I think all readers would enjoy.

              Sisters Jules and Sylvie are separated by only a year in age, with Sylvie being the eldest of the two. The two girls live near the neighboring woods where, not far from the river behind their house, is the Slip. The Slip is a place forbidden for Jules and Sylvie to go to for the potential dangers it represents. Regardless of their differences, Jules and Sylvie are as close as can be, but everything changes when Sylvie passes away. Devastated by her grief, Jules mourns her sister’s loss, and not far from her home a fox cub named Senna is born. As Jules learns to navigate a world without Sylvie, she begins to uncover her sister’s secrets while Senna watches over her from afar, wondering why it is she feels an acute closeness to the human Jules.

              It’s unsurprising that for such a short read, Maybe A Fox would be a novel that I would read through quickly and with ease. It is easily the kind of novel that a person could read in one sitting. Appelt and McGhee write the novel in such a way that it is impossible to not be drawn in by the novel’s innocent and beautiful writing, and by the novel’s heart-wrenching story.

              Maybe A Fox is, I think, most sibling’s worst nightmares. As someone who is an older sibling reading Maybe A Fox, watching Jules grieve for her sister leaves you on the outside looking in as someone’s little sister experiences a sorrow that is written with horrible, fantastic realism. Every single chapter of Maybe A Fox reduced me to a crying wreck. Readers watch Jules grieve and are overcome with sadness for her, and for the gravity of her situation. Though the novel is one that is written for a middle grade audience, it is a hard-hitting novel that emotional readers should be prepared for prior to reading.

              Everything about Maybe A Fox is spectacular. From the introduction to Sylvie and Jules’ relationship to the use of animals known as the Kennen, Maybe A Fox is a masterful read that will resonate with readers of all ages. Readers who are looking for an easy-to-read, beautiful novel should give Maybe A Fox a try. Any readers who are looking for a novel that is sweet, heartbreaking, and simple should also give it a try. Maybe A Fox is, undoubtedly, a novel that everyone should take the time to pick up and experience with all of their being.


[about-author author=”Kathi Appelt”]


[about-author author=”Alison McGhee”]


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