Saturday, March 24, 2012

S.A.V.E. Squad #1: Dog Daze by Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright

Aneta's life has gone through a lot of changes lately. She was recently adopted and is still adjusting to having a mom and a family. She's terrified that if she's not good enough, she will be sent back to the orphanage. Her English isn't strong and she's very shy and quiet, which makes it hard to make friends. Then she ends up working with three other girls on a community fundraiser project for Founder's Day. She has nothing in common with the other girls and they're having a really hard time coming up with a great idea. Then they find an abandoned Basset Hound, and they get the idea to have a dog-themed fundraiser. But their rival group is determined to sabotage Aneta and her friends, and Aneta is having a hard time convincing her mom that she should adopt the Basset Hound. How is Aneta going to make sure that everything works out in the end?

For such a small book, there sure is a lot going on. Aneta's struggle with her new life comes through in really interesting ways. When the story starts, she's called Annette by her mother but comes to the realization that she wants to be called Aneta, her birth name. She's still getting used to the idea of being a "Jasper" and thinks that she has to mold herself into someone that she isn't in order to get to be able to stay with her mother. Even the way she refers to her mother, as Mom, is a small point that illustrated the distance Aneta was putting between herself and the idea that she had a 'forever home.' She would say things like "I have to talk to Mom before I can do that," as if the woman's name was Mom and rarely possessive phrases like "my mom." I was a bit surprised to see a very dark scene involving the discovery of the Basset Hound, later named Wink - someone attempted to kill him by throwing him into a lake. This was a very fast way to set up the 'bad guy' as a truly terrible villain - who else would want to kill a dog? The mystery of discovering the identity of the attempted dog murderer had an almost Scooby Doo-like quality about it; I almost expected the person to exclaim that they would have gotten away if not for those meddling kids. Religion and church life are threads that run through the book, tying the plot together, and at several times the girls talk about being Christians. Parents and kids who are looking for a series featuring strong girls and cute animals wrapped up in an overtly Christian message should definitely keep an eye out for this series.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Barbour Publishing.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
S.A.V.E. Squad #2: The Great Cat Caper by Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Wright
What a Pair #1: Double Trouble by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Gabby's Stick-To-It Day by Sheila Walsh

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