by Alison McGhee
illustrated by Drazen Kozjan
review copy provided by the publisher
Julia Gillian is a great new girl character. She lives in a third floor apartment in Minneapolis with her parents (mother is a first grade teacher and father is a high school teacher). She has a St. Bernard and her parameters include walking Bigfoot for an hour alone within a 9 square-block area. Her list of accomplishments has filled one whole side of a sheet of paper and goes onto the back. Down one floor live her friends Enzo and Zap, who are brother and sister. Enzo is 18 and chooses to live with her brother Zap who is in his twenties and wants to become a famous chef.
Julia Gillian is nine years old and she's starting to realize that the adult world isn't quite as great as it's cracked up to be. Her parents read the newspaper, despite all the bad news, so that they will know what's going on in the world. Julia Gillian is starting to realize that perhaps her parents don't always tell her the truth. And she's afraid to finish reading her book because she doesn't think she's going to like the ending.
Julia Gillian works through her fears with the help of Enzo and Zap, Bigfoot, and a little girl in the neighborhood who is afraid of kindergarten. In the process, she helps her parents to better understand themselves and their "marvel of a child."
Julia Gillian is a spunky as Clementine, with as unique a world view, but she's a little older and a little more serious. I'll be waiting just as anxiously for the next book in the series.