A timely middle-grade story about the devastation of wildfires and the resilience of the human spirit.
He’s a rescue, a mutt. Maybe there’s a little golden retriever in him, although he’s not exactly pretty. He’s had a run-in with coyotes and he’s missing an eye. But Mike is eleven-year-old Cara Donovan’s dog, and they love each other absolutely. Usually her pet follows Cara everywhere, but on the day the family first smells smoke in the air, Mike becomes anxious. Pine Grove is in the path of a wildfire, and the family is ordered to evacuate. In the ensuing chaos, Mike runs off. And then the unthinkable happens; there is no time to search for Mike. They are forced to leave him behind.
Shocked and devastated, Cara watches helplessly as the family drives through a nightmare, with burning debris falling from the sky and wild animals fleeing for their lives. Once in the city far from the burn zone, the Donovans are housed with a volunteer host family. Jewel, the hosts’ daughter, is nice, but Cara can only think about what she may have lost. What will happen if nothing is left? But as she reflects on what “home” means to her, Cara knows only one thing. She is not going to lose Mike. She will do what it takes to find him, even if it means going back to Pine Grove on her own.
Missing Mike (Pajama Press, 2018) is a middle-grade novel in verse, available now.
- 2019 NCTE Notable Verse Novels selection
- 2019 USBBY Outstanding International Books selection
- 2019 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award nominee
- 2018 OLA Best Bets selection
- 2018 Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection
- 2018 Fall Best Books for Kids & Teens starred selection
- 2018 OLA Forest of Reading Kid Committee Summer Reading List selection
“Tense, heartwarming, and masterful.”—Kirkus
“Cara is an appealing, believable narrator … Her mix of fears, insecurities, optimism, and penchant for crossword puzzles will resonate … Cara provides a dramatic and youthful eyewitness perspective on wildfires, evacuation operations, the kindness and generosity of strangers, and the traumatic uncertainty of loss. A timely addition to middle grade collections.”—School Library Journal
“Green’s free verse novel fairly brims with gripping descriptions of both the fire and Cara’s taut emotional state, allowing readers a front-row seat to the devastation and fear that the fire generates….A fast-paced, compelling, and timely read.”—Booklist
“Missing Mike is a life-affirming, soul-soaring journey of love, loss, family, hope and the true definition of home. A standout book in the collection of any middle-grade reader…”—Canadian Children’s Book News
“[Green’s] ability to convey complex emotions is on point: uncertainty, regret, nostalgia, loyalty, love, and friendship are palpable. Missing Mike is a novel that subtly shifts from being about a missing dog to become an exploration of the emotional journey of losing home and finding it once again.”—Quill & Quire
“The emotional intensity of the story never falters. It is full of the longing, loss, and desperation of losing everything. Through that sadness and desolation, the book teaches an amazing lesson about hope, kindness, and the importance of family.”—Foreword Reviews
“The verse novel format lends itself well to the frantic and emotional nature of a natural disaster and Shari Green’s writing is carefully crafted. … Cara’s search for her dog and for a feeling of home will resonate with readers of all ages, and this book would make an excellent addition to a classroom or school library.”—Resource Links
“Green’s choosing to tell this story via free verse was the correct stylistic decision. Her descriptions, particularly those dealing with the evacuation, are absolutely gripping. There’s much to like in Missing Mike… Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine
“Cara’s love for Mike is so deep that her anguish at being separated from him is palpable…But more than the story about a missing dog, Missing Mike is about home… Shari Green, who has impressed all readers with her exceptional novels in verse…does not disappoint with this latest middle grade novel in free verse.”—CanLit For Little Canadians
“Showcasing author Shari Green’s genuine flair for originality and narrative driven storytelling, “Missing Mike” will prove to be of extraordinary interest for children ages 9 to 12, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers.”—Midwest Book Review