A Game of Fox and Squirrel by Jenn Reese is a juvenile fiction book for grades five and up.
After something happens to shatter their family, eleven-year old Samantha and her older sister Caitlin are sent to Oregon to live with an Aunt they never knew existed. Sam wants nothing more than to go back home and to the way things were before the “incident.”
When Aunt Vicky gives Sam an unusual board game called “A Game of Fox & Squirrels,” she becomes fascinated with the game, even more so when the characters start showing up in the woods around her aunt’s house.
But Sam is soon wrapped up in a game she wasn’t prepared for. As the stakes get steeper, the line between what is real and what isn’t is blurred and Sam could lose more than just the game.
This was a really wonderful audio book. I am always hesitant to recommend titles with tough themes, especially when it comes abusive parents, but this one is done so well. The author doesn’t spell everything out for the readers, nor does she talk down to them. She assumes that they are smart enough to “get” what is happening and doesn’t shy away from the truth.
But what really makes this book shine is how Sam deals with the issues in her family through fantasy. When the foxes “eyes go dark,” you can almost see Sam’s Dad getting angry and there are several examples of this throughout the book. I thought this was a great way for the author to have Sam work through her feelings.
This book has a lot going for it. It was well written, the theme is handled beautifully and the character relationships seem authentic. This one gets 5 stars from me.
That’s all for now!