I just couldn’t read this lovely middle grades gem without reviewing it. It was absolutely delightful! An illustrated novel, it follows Flora, a geeky girl super into comic books whose parents are recently divorced. She saves Ulysses, a squirrel, from a super strong vacuum cleaner…and the experience gives him superpowers. He can type out poetry and understand what she is saying. They go on an adventure, visiting with her father, and trying to save Ulysses from her mother, who wants nothing more than to kill him so that her child can be more “normal”. Adding to the madcap mayhem is her next-door neighbor who vacuumed Ulysses up, and the neighbor’s nephew, who says he is blind due to trauma (but may be slightly dramatizing the situation).
This book was just fun. There’s absolutely no other way to describe it. Flora is uniquely relatable for anyone who has ever felt different. Ulysses is adorable in illustrations and just a very likable squirrel. I laughed out loud as I read this book in one sitting. I got super into it, and was really hoping that Flora’s evil mother didn’t succeed in her quest to rid Flora of Ulysses. In the end, even her villain of a mother was seen to be very human, as were all of the characters in this book. You begin to understand Flora’s world as she begins to understand it better as well. I really think this would be a great read for any middle grades reader who feels like an outcast, a geek, or a nerd…and for anyone who needs a character also experiencing divorce. A truly heartfelt, offbeat gem of a novel…and the illustrations are a nice touch!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars