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The Ostrich and Other Lost Things

Eleven-year-old Olivia Grant has a knack for finding lost things. She can find lost rings, pets, and even her elderly neighbor's misplaced glasses. There's only one thing Olivia has never been able to find — her brother Jacob's toy ostrich. It wasn't until the day Jacob lost his ostrich that Olivia noticed how different he was: Jacob is autistic, and though she's his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. And with her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it's Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow — unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. In fact, apart from being Jacob's sister, Olivia's not really sure who she is.

So when summer break begins, and the local community theater announces auditions for an all children's production of her favorite show, Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. But what begins as a promising opportunity and a wonderful escape quickly becomes pure chaos. The visiting zoo with an odd assortment of animals — including an ostrich that causes even more trouble than Jacob's missing toy — only make matters worse, as Olivia's summer is shaping up to be just as consumed by Jacob's needs as the rest of her life has been.

In time, and with the help of some unlikely alliances, Olivia must learn what it means to be separate from her brother and still love him, how to love herself in spite of her own flaws, and that not all lost things are meant to be found.

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"Jacob’s meltdowns, coming at stressful moments, are growing worse as he moves into his teens. Olivia’s parents, driven by their desire to give him opportunities to grow, imprudently (and surprisingly) put him in situations that seem likely to end in failures. In one such, they encourage him to audition for a part in Peter Pan along with Olivia. Although Jacob gets through the audition and they both get parts in the play, he melts down onstage on opening night — as Olivia expected — and she fails to come to his rescue, leaving her wracked with guilt.... Olivia is well-meaning, realistically trapped between her loving concern for Jacob and the constraints his behavior puts on her life." — Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Recommended Age 10 - 13
Author Beth Hautala
ISBN 0399546065
Publication Date Feb 20, 2018
Publisher Philomel Books
Language English