Friendship and Family

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Publication Date January 8, 2019

Summary from NetGalley

Coyote SunriseFive years.

That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished—the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box—she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it.

Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys…

Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all…but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”

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ARC provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review. 

I have read all of Dan Gemeinhart’s books and this is his best one so far!  This one has great characters a wonderful plots and lots of feels.  And that ending!  I had to try really hard not to cry, because I was reading it during lunch recess in the library.  

Coyote is such an amazing and darling character.   She has had a rough life, and her dad does not make things easier.  He is in such denial about his grief that he even changed their names so he wouldn’t be reminded of the past.  I loved their relationship though.  Coyote has a unique perspective on life and on people’s reactions to their lifestyle.  She is fun to hang out with and has little difficulty making friends where ever they are.  She is beginning to see the hardship of always moving though, and she does have trouble telling her father about her true motives behind her wanting to go home, but in the end she does and it makes their relationship stronger. 

Many people join them for this journey.  Salvatore is a boy around the same age as Coyote and they quickly bond over their love of books.  They tell each other their secrets and Salvatore does stay with Coyote until the end of the trip.  Val is older than these two, but she also quickly becomes invested in Coyote’s adventure and helps her out as well.  There are adults who join them, Lester and Salvatore’s mom and aunt.  They are not as fleshed out as the kids, but they all help get Coyote and her dad where they need to go. 

I need to give a special shout out to Ivan, Coyote’s cat.  The story about how she gets him is at the beginning of the book and it is so sweet.  Their bond is also very wonderful and Ivan always seems to know what she needs.  And he also comes to her rescue at one point which was awesome. 

The plot was very well done.  There are a lot of trials and roadblocks that really try to keep Coyote from getting to where she needs to be.  I loved the three questions they ask everyone before they agree to take them along on the bus.  

  • What is your favorite book?
  • What is your favorite place on this planet Earth?
  • What is your favorite sandwich? 

I had a really hard time putting this book down, and I almost finished it in one day.  It is a beautiful middle grade book about grief, friendship, family and finding your place in the world.  


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