As Caleb walks through the woods near his house, he sees what looks like an angel sitting atop a boulder with the sun shining down on her through the trees. This new friend, Kit, gives Caleb all he’s ever hoped for—the freedom and fun of being a normal kid without the categorization and constant reality of his cystic fibrosis looming over him. The fun comes at a price, as Caleb lies and skips summer camp to play with Kit. It isn’t until Caleb learns that Kit’s mother is neglecting her that he realizes their fairytale summer must come to an end. Caleb confides in his mother about Kit’s secret, who demonstrates that parents can help sort through serious situations. This informative, moving book gives a detailed example of what it’s like to live with cystic fibrosis and creates a genuine tone to this emotional tale (best for older middle-grade readers) about a boy who reminds us that fighting an illness takes courage, particularly when there’s no magic Captain America serum to be had. Kit teaches Caleb a repeated mantra throughout the story, “I can do what I want,” which, with his lying, leads to a touch of rebellion plaguing the story. However, the end of the book leaves us with a lesson on the value of honesty and the magic of friendship.
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This book is so genuine and meaningful. This story presents a heartfelt journey of a young boy with an illness that just wants to be normal. Caleb has Cystic Fibrosis, so you learn a lot about the disease and readers can develop a lot of empathy through his story. His new friend, Kit, has a mother who isn't taking care of her as she should. Caleb keeps Kit a secret from his family for a while, and later on learns that he needs to take responsibility and not keep secrets any longer, as they only hurt those around him.
Filled with smart, witty, and magical writing, Kit and Caleb, and those around them, come to vibrant life in this heartbreaking story about the ties that bring people together, and the difficulties of facing the truth.
When the reality of Caleb’s illness comes crashing through their imaginary world, so does the truth about Kit’s life. This is a compelling story of two struggling kids making their own safe haven from harsh worlds neither of them deserves, there’s both joy and sadness in its conclusion.
Hand to readers looking for a novel about both the magic and the pain of friendship. A solid purchase for most collections.
The cystic fibrosis is well-handled—it affects every part of Caleb’s life but never defines who he is. A realistic story with strong, recognizable characters that doesn’t reduce cystic fibrosis to a tragedy.
I am the author of the Cybils’-nominated Caleb and Kit, ILA award-winning A Blind Guide to Stinkville, JLG-selection A Blind Guide to Normal, The Reckless Club, and the Pack of Dorks series. I’ve received starred and positive trade reviews across the board for my novels and am active in school and library visits around the country. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. In fourth grade, I won a short-story contest and promptly decided writing was what I was going to do with my life. Although my other plans–becoming a wolf biologist, a Yellowstone National Park ranger, and a professional roller skater–didn’t come to fruition, I stuck with the writing. I can’t clap to the beat nor be trusted around Nutella.
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