Body of Water
By Sarah Dooley
Feiwel and Friends, 2011. Realistic fiction.
At twelve years old, Ember Goforth-Shook has a lot to deal with. Her dad was a born again Christian who converts to Wicca for his tarot-card reading wife. This does not go over well, and in their stiflingly religious town, the Goforth-Shooks are not exactly looked upon with fondness. They lose their trailer to arson, and become homeless for many months. They live in the local lake campground, barely surviving on a few dollars a day. Ember is a bright girl, who becomes frustrated with her parents' halfhearted attempts to find employment. She is motivated to sift through the ashes of her life, literally and figuratively, to find a better existence.
Ember has a lot to deal with: homelessness, loss of a best friend, religious questioning, being overweight, sibling frustrations, teasing at school, and more. It can feel overwhelming, but I think that it speaks to the tween audience, because there are a lot of things to grapple with at that age. Body of Water is well-written and interesting. Ember is a strong main character whom you can't help but admire. I loved the portrayal of Wicca and the way the author threads the elements of wind, fire, air, and water throughout.