Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: fate, friendship, romance, parents
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)
Summary: After being kidnapped by their father, Sam is living in an apartment and going to school and Riddle is living with the Bells. But their imprisoned father is not done with them, and vows to put a halt to the “normalcy” they have finally been granted.
Holly Goldberg Sloan’s writing puts me in a trance. I feel calm and safe, even when the characters I am reading about may not be. She makes me believe that every little thing we do affects the bigger things, and that in the end, despite the tough stuff, we will be okay.
In her follow-up to the excellent I’ll Be There, Sloane reunites us with Sam and Riddle, two boys faced with a terrible childhood. Emily and the Bell Family, the kind and selfless family that has given these two a feeling of home. And I can’t forget Bobby who is now going by Robb, a peer who ends up in the middle of it all — sometimes a nuisance, but proving to be a blessing in more ways than one.
As much as I enjoyed hearing how life was for all of these characters and being introduced to a new one — Destiny — I wasn’t expecting this book to be so similar to the first. I kind of wish we were done with Sam and Riddle’s father and moved on to other challenges. Of course, Sam and Riddle’s situation with their dad has caused long-term effects and I would have liked them to deal with these emotions and repercussions more. Generally, more insight into Emily and Sam’s relationship, and more moments spent with the Bell’s would have made for a stronger story. Everything felt a bit too much on the surface for me, and I finished with so many questions and not enough answers.
Still, Sloan is a master at piecing together quirky characters, where the smallest appearance can equal major impact. Plus if you want to read about good vs. evil, and the journey toward a happy ending, all of Holly’s work falls into this category. Definitely check out I’ll Be There, Just Call My Name, and last year’s middle grade, Counting By 7s, for charming casts of characters you can’t help but root for.