Who is Sam, and what do his strange dreams mean?
The shock of icy water as a boat crashes onto rocks feels real; so does the castle high above him that is almost hidden in the mists. And what about the number eleven woven into all those dreams?
The papers Sam finds in the locked box in the attic may hold the answers–if only he could read them. But to Sam, words are like spiders flexing their thin legs as they move across the page. Words are impossible. It’s wood that Sam understands, wood that he loves to shape and to build with.
Caroline, the new girl, who bursts into Sam’s classroom one day and warns him that she’s not there to stay, helps build a castle with him, and reads those papers. Together they set out to discover who Sam really is and where he belongs.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2007:
"This intimate story realistically examines friendship, family secrets and the struggles of a learning-disability child trying to make sense fo the world."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2007:
"An engrossing examination of a profound theme in the deft hands of a discerning author."
Interview, The New York Times: In the Region, February 3, 2008:
"Handling difficult subjects with sensitivity is Mrs. Giff’s specialty. If she has tried to drive home a single point in all her stories, it is that ordinary people are special — and that children, most of all, need to feel that way."
From the Hardcover edition.