The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathyrn Fitzmaurice
Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson, is an eleven year old girl who really loves to cook. When she is old enough she wants to go to cooking school. This was her plan until her mother read Groovy her horoscope. She should have taken it's warning when it read "Expect the unexpected." She thought this might be a good thing; but it wasn't.
For starters Officer Miguel stopped her dad as they were walking into town. Officer Miguel showed her dad some papers and told him that he had to go with him and that he would be taking him to jail.
Groovy runs home trying to talk to her mother who tells her that she knows about it but can't discuss it with her right now. In fact it takes her mother a long time to talk about it. Groovy is having a difficult time with her father in jail and her mother not talking to her. Later her mother tells her that she might want to start making her great chocolate covered strawberries and have Luis, Frankie's
stepbrother sell them in his store. She could make some money and put it away for cooking school.
Groovy told her best friend Frankie, that her house was like " a See's candy with beautiful swirled choclate on the outside and coconut flakes on the inside, all gritty and and hard, like undercooked rice." she explains that just because something looks one way it doesn't mean that is what it is like.
Frankie has his oqn problems when his mother who left him with his stepbrother years ago reappears in his life. Frankie doesn't want to see her and wishes she never came. He never read the letters that she wrote, why would he want to see her now?
Groovy meets a girl named Marisol who has a younger bother named Felix. Groovy notices that Marisol likes to draw birds on the sidewalks. she wants to be an artist when she grows up. She wants to have her bird pictures in magazines and in gallaries. In fact Marisol gives hope to Groovy, telling her that she can use her bird drawings on her stawberries, and that she is sure that Groovy will go to cooking school .
Groovy, Frankie and Marisol all have to deal with earthquakes, and family problems and the trial of friendship. They all believe in their friendship and they all feel that the swallows that make their migration to their hometown is a sign of hope!
I think that boys and girls alike will enjoy this story of friendship, trust, and love.