I must say that the book Being West is Best by author Monique Bucheger pleasantly surprised me. I don’t typically read middle grade novels, but I found myself pulled into the story of love, hurt and learning to be a family. Being West is Best is book four in the series, and despite not having read the first three, I was able to jump right in and follow along.
Set on a farm, the story follows two twelve-year old girls who are best friends. Ginni and Tillie are excited to become step-sisters now that Ginni’s dad has proposed to Tilli’s mom. However their planned happily ever after is threatened when Tillie’s father shows up. He abused Tillie and her mom before leaving for six years. He says he’s changed and wants his family back.
I found myself flipping through pages as fast as my eyes would read. Unlike other novels I’ve read, I found I couldn’t skip ahead. When I tried to skip, I just had to go back and read what I missed.
The variety of characters in the story kept me involved as I learned more about their pasts, dreams, and fears. The author was great at showing there is more than one side of a story. While characters had to face abuse, the reactions to dealing with it varied. So many stories shy away from the subject of abuse, but it is something that children and adults unfortunately encounter. That being said, the story made me laugh and cheer, and while it had depressing subjects I feel uplifted.
I was satisfied by the story plot and ending. The characters drew me in, and the world was easy to understand(family farm in modern times). I want this book so that I can share it with others. I feel this novel is one that can be enjoyed by anyone who can read it. I highly recommend it for anyone twelve or older. Out of five stars I give it a five.
To learn more about the author:
Monique Bucheger (author of The Secret Sisters Club: A Ginnie West Adventure)