by Jessica Vitalis
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Pub Date 10 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 05 Dec 2023
HarperCollins Children's Books, Greenwillow Books
“Winningly intense.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A powerful novel of tremendous empathy and optimism.” —Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist
“Exquisitely written and painfully real.” —Megan E. Freeman, award-winning author of Alone
When a twelve-year-old decides that she must get herself and her mother out of a bad situation, an eerie connection to a coyote pack helps her see who she’s meant to be—and who she can truly save. The Benefits of Being an Octopus meets The Nest in this contemporary middle grade novel about family, class, and resilience, with a magical twist.
Twelve-year-old Fud feels trapped. She lives a precarious life in a cramped trailer with her mom and her mom’s alcoholic ex-boxer boyfriend, Larry. Fud can see it’s only a matter of time until Larry explodes again, even if her mom keeps on making excuses for his behavior. If only Fud could find a way to be as free as the coyotes roaming the Wyoming countryside: strong, smart, independent, and always willing to protect their own.
When Larry comes home with a rusted-out houseboat, Fud is horrified to hear that he wants to fix it up for them to live on permanently. All she sees is a floating prison. Then new-neighbor Leigh tells Fud about Miss Black Gold, a beauty pageant sponsored by the local coal mine. While Fud doesn’t care much about gowns or talents or prancing around on stage, she cares very much about getting herself and her mom away from Larry before the boat is finished. And to do that, she needs money, in particular that Miss Black Gold prize money.
One problem: the more Fud fantasizes about escape, the more her connection to the coyotes lurking outside her window grows. And strange things have started happening—is Fud really going color-blind? Are her eyebrows really getting bushier? And why does it suddenly seem like she can smell everything?
Jessica Vitalis crafts a moving and voice-driven novel about family and resilience, with a fantastical twist. Coyote Queen is perfect for readers of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and The Elephant in the Room.