From the moment I read the blurb for this book, I knew I would love it. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise soon became one of my favourite MG novels ever and one of my fav novels I’ve read this year.
Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, crisscrossing 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 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”.
Coyote was a lovable MC who was witty and determined and so much fun. She was a tomboy and pretended to be tough, but she was kind-hearted and soft on the inside. Her father Rodeo was a unique guy. Instead of living in a house, he refashioned a school bus into a trailer home and that was where they lived. I loved the loving and heartfelt relationship between Coyote and her father Rodeo, which grew and transformed over the course of the book. The two of them cared for each other in the wake of a terrible tragedy, and they patched each other up the best they could.
One of my favourite aspects of this book was the secondary characters who had their own stories, like Lester, Salvador and his mom and Val. They were the main characters of their own story, and there could easily be a novel written for each of them. It felt like their paths just happened to intersect with that of Coyote and Rodeo’s and that we were only scratching the surface of their own stories.
Related to this, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is not for the faint of heart and doesn’t shy away from the tough topics of life. Coyote, Rodeo and their friends each had a difficult story to tell, and I loved that this novel told it all in a beautiful and sensitive way.
The dialogues in this novel are ingenious, and related to this, the relationships between Coyote and the rest of the cast felt so real and organic. I also really loved the friendship between Coyote and her best-friend-to-be, which was one of the cutest and most beautiful friendships I’ve read in MG.
Did I mention that gender roles are completely overturned in this book? Loved that we have a strong female MC (who was at the same time vulnerable and kind) and soft and sensitive male characters.
It’s about an epic road trip! Who doesn’t like reading about road trips??
Despite the light, summery feel of the cover and the first pages, this book packs an emotional punch. It got pretty intense especially toward the end. I loved that Coyote’s quirky and humorous voice prevented the book from ever becoming too heavy.
Loved that there was always something happening (even though it’s not an “actiony” plot if you know what I mean). I finished the last half all in 24 hours since I just couldn’t put it down.
I laughed a lot and cried BUCKETS.
Above all, I loved loved loved one of the prevailing themes of this book, which is to always be kind.
Overall, this was a solid 5-star read for me and I wouldn’t change a thing. However just a heads up that there’s some heavy stuff in here (all handled with a good dose of sensitivity and humor of course, but it wasn’t a walk in the park.)
This book made me laugh and cry, seriously. If you love MG books with humor, heart and adventure, you’ll love this one.
Photo by Anton Nikolov on Unsplash
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