All That’s Missing

When his grandfather’s dementia raises the specter of foster care, Arlo flees to find his only other family member in this genuine, heartening novel.
Arlo’s grandfather travels in time. Not literally—he just mixes up the past with the present. Arlo holds on as best he can, fixing himself cornflakes for dinner and paying back the owner of the corner store for the sausages Poppo eats without remembering to pay. But how long before someone finds out that Arlo is taking care of the grandfather he lives with instead of the other way around? When Poppo lands in the hospital and a social worker comes to take charge, Arlo’s fear of foster care sends him alone across three hundred miles. Armed with a name and a town, Arlo finds his only other family member—the grandmother he doesn’t remember ever meeting. But just finding her isn’t enough to make them a family. Unfailingly honest and touched with a dash of magical realism, Sarah Sullivan’s evocative debut novel delves into a family mystery and unearths universal truths about home, trust, friendship, and strength—all the things a boy needs.


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“An outstanding debut novel.” (VOYA)

“There's no pretension in this simple but deep story.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review)

“Sullivan's debut novel beautifully balances the big issues in Arlo's life with his smaller, more immediate concerns: his dog, an adventurous friend, and the magic of a wooden eagle carved by his father. Filled with heart, this will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie.” (Booklist)

“Intriguing … suspenseful … [R]eaders will root for this youngster as he works to create a place he can call home.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“In a novel laced with mystery and a hint of the supernatural, picture book author Sullivan (Passing the Music Down) creates a strong small-town atmosphere through Edgewater's citizens. young and old. A quietly affecting coming-of-age story about finding family and confronting change.” (Publisher's Weekly)

“It's rare to find a quiet, refiective middle-grade novel with a boy as the main character, and rarer still to find one this satisfying.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

A Day for Skating
published by Candlewick Press, 2013
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