On a browsing expedition through the children's section of a local bookstore, I was stopped in my tracks by the cover of Water Street, by Patricia Reilly Giff. A quick read of the jacket synopsis and I had a feeling I'd find comfort in reading Giff's story. And comfort, it turns out, is exactly the right word for my experience with Water Street.
I've missed Giff's previous work, so I came to Water Street with no back-story on any of the characters, and no frame of reference for Giff's writing style or plot lines. I'm not sure if that made the reading better for being fresh, or if knowing more about the books before might have made the book feel even more comforting. Either way, I didn't feel that I missed anything, but now I'm eager to go back and read the books before just to know more about the family.
What I liked about Water Street:
- Bird, for her name (I have a weakness for great nicknames), for her courage, and for her ability to draw so much love out of all those who know her
- Thomas, for daring to write the world he wants
- The Bridge, for being the perfect backdrop and for anchoring the story in its moment
- The street, for its character and its characters
- The story, for fulfilling its own promise (see comfort comments above)
- The cover, for drawing me to the book in the first place
I recommend this book for middle-graders, possibly slightly more for girls than boys.