Beverly, Right Here
Fall 2019 Kids Indie Next List
— Alex Schaffner, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
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Beverly put her foot down on the gas. They went faster still.
This was what Beverly wanted — what she always wanted. To get away. To get away as fast as she could. To stay away.
Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her — and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes. In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again.
Praise For Beverly, Right Here…
—Booklist (starred review)
This thoughtful companion to two-time Newbery Medal–winner DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana’s Way Home follows Beverly Tapinski, the third of the Three Rancheros, in August 1979—four years after the first book’s events...Secondary characters—sensitive teen store clerk Elmer, who’s interested in art; bingo enthusiast Iola; and the staff of Mr. C’s—are well defined through concise narrative and dialogue, and DiCamillo builds them into a new community that matters a great deal to Beverly. But it’s Beverly’s private moments—thoughts of the other Rancheros, a message revealed, a love for the term lapis lazuli—that move her from being a person in flight to a present, whole participant in her world.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The story moves languidly at first, as Beverly absorbs her surroundings, and then more quickly, as she realizes that if she “wants things to change,” she must meet those things head on. Drawn with unusual depth, the members of Beverly’s small community emerge as complex individuals but also, collectively, as a force for change and goodwill—just like the three friends who began this journey together.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
DiCamillo has described her trilogy as being about ‘becoming’ and ‘the power of community.’ Drawing each girl’s story with subtle yet bold strokes, DiCamillo delivers novels that feel both beautifully spare and deeply rich. With lovely reminders of the angels who help us all find our way in this sometimes unbearable world—as well as the enduring power of stories, kindness, hope and surprising possibilities—Beverly, Right Here completes DiCamillo’s superb trilogy, which is destined to remain a classic.
—BookPage (starred review)
In this third book about the girls, DiCamillo mixes familiar ingredients: absent parents, disparate friends, the ability to drive a car, the power of generosity, and the satisfaction of a big celebratory meal...simply told and progressing in real time, readers encounter this world through Beverly's eyes and mind, finding pleasure in small things, appreciating friends of all sorts, coming to terms with losses, and moving on. A satisfying read that stands alone but is richer for its company.
In her signature style of short, accessible prose sprinkled with carefully chosen, meaningful words, DiCamillo once again tells extraordinary stories with ordinary characters. This is a multilayered story of hope, from Iola who wants to win a turkey from the VFW Christmas in July, to Freddie who has big dreams, to Elmer who loves art and poetry and wants to be an engineer, to Beverly herself, who just wants things to be different than they are. Beverly acts tough and uninterested, but underneath she is tender and vulnerable. This is not a lighthearted book, but it is heartwarming and touching. Highly recommended.
—School Library Journal
As with the other titles, this is a real-world fairy tale about a lost girl finding home; Beverly’s prickly personality and DiCamillo’s smooth understated prose keep the sentimentality at bay here, though, and add some edge to the wishful details of Beverly’s experience. Beverly’s gradual thawing into a belief in her own value is deftly depicted, and the story will inspire yearning in many readers for a similar escape and soft landing.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
As hopeful as it is heartbreaking, Beverly, Right Here offers up messages of trust and self-worth that are important for all young people to hear.
The warm hearts of the young people more than compensate for the inadequacies of the adults. Language Arts teachers could use the book to conduct character and dialogue studies. If the other two books in the trilogy, Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick Press 2016) and Louisiana’s Way Home (Candlewick Press 2018) have been welcomed into your collection, be sure to add this title.
—School Library Connection
Candlewick, 9780763694647, 256pp.
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Beverly says that she had run away from home plenty of times, but this time was different, because she was leaving. What does she mean by this?
2. When Beverly goes into Mr. C’s to apply for a job, Freddie says to Beverly, “This is the end of the road unless you have a dream” (page 16). How does this apply to the people who work there? Freddie calls not having a dream “dead-end, one-road thinking. You have to engage in open-ended, multi-road thinking,” she says (page 46). What does this mean to you? Do you think Freddie will realize her dreams?
3. The only time we hear from Beverly’s mother is on page 18, when Beverly calls her from a phone booth to tell her she is okay. What do you learn about her mother from that short conversation? About Beverly’s relationship with her mother? When Beverly looks up in the phone booth, she sees the phrase “In a crooked little house by a crooked little sea.” How does this become important to her? How does it apply to her situation?
4. “Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds” is a line from a poem that Beverly had to memorize in school. The poem, “High Flight,” was written by John Gillespie Magee Jr., an airman who was killed at age nineteen in 1941 when the plane he was piloting collided with another over England. What do you think the phrase means to Beverly?
5. Iola and Beverly have different ideas about trust. What does each one think? Why? Do Beverly’s ideas about trust change throughout the book?
6. The names of Iola’s cats, past and present, are taken from the poem by Eugene Field “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.” Later in the book, Beverly’s friend Elmer recites some of the lines. Find and read the entire poem, then discuss why you think the author used it.
7. Equity is very important to Doris, the cook at the seafood restaurant. What is equity? What does she do to try to attain it in the restaurant? How does each of the employees react to Doris’s actions? Do things change for the employees? In what ways?
8. On page 67, Beverly thinks about how she does not want to be a comfort to anyone. Why do you think she feels that way?
9. Freddie’s boyfriend, Jerome, reminds Beverly of her mother’s boyfriends: “stupid and desperate and sometimes mean” (page 77). After meeting him in the restaurant, she steals his graduation tassel from his truck. Why do you think she did that? Later, when Beverly finds a Christmas photo of Mr. Denby and his family, she takes it. What is her motive for this? Is it the same reason that she took Jerome’s tassel?
10. When Beverly first sees Elmer, he is sitting behind the counter at a convenience store reading a book that has an angel with glorious blue wings on the cover. How do that color and that angel become important to Beverly? What do you know about Elmer from the books he reads?
11. Many chapters in the novel end with someone going into or coming out of a house or building. What do you think the author is saying with this? Examples include pages 71, 85, 103, and 109.
12. On page 105, Mr. Larksong shows Beverly a photo of the painting The Song of the Lark by Jules Breton. The painting is remarkable because there is no bird or musical instrument in it, yet you can tell the girl is listening. Find a reproduction of the painting so you can see how the artist accomplished this. Using a similar technique, how would you paint something you cannot see, like the wind?
13. There are many kinds of truths, such as the ones the religious woman outside Zoom City imparts through her stick-figure cartoons, or the ones Iola lives by. How do you choose your truths? How do you decide what or whom to believe? In one instance of truth versus lies, Beverly thinks that the happiness shown in her boss’s Christmas photo is a lie and that most photos are lies. What do you think?
14. To Beverly, the color pink, which is usually associated with happy, light things, is ominous because it reminds her of “princesses and beauty contests and her mother and lies” (page 125). What do you know about that part of Beverly’s life? Are there any colors that affect you strongly? What are they, and why do they affect you the way they do?
15. Jerome’s behavior as described by Elmer is classic cruel bullying. Is there bullying in your school? What does it consist of? Elmer says, “There are Jeromes everywhere you go. You can never get away from the Jeromes of the world” (page 158). Do you believe this? Can bullying be stopped?
16. Often there is a seagull at the door of the restaurant kitchen, but Doris makes sure that he never enters. What do you think the presence of the seagull means? Why?
17. Beverly chooses to stay with the cooks in the restaurant kitchen when they are on strike. “Outside the open door, past the seagull and the dumpsters and the hotels, there was a small strip of ocean visible. It was a bright, sparkling blue. Not as bright as lapis lazuli. But bright enough. Beverly suddenly felt as if she were exactly where she was supposed to be” (page 185). What has made Beverly think this?
18. At the end of the book, Raymie is on her way to pick up Beverly and take her home. What do you think of this ending? Is it good that Beverly is going home? How do you think she will readjust? How has Beverly changed since she left home?