Eleven-year-old Jules and her 12-year-old sister, Sylvie, make up a game called “maybe” to help them imagine where their mother, who died several years before, might be now. Jules struggles with her fading images of her mother, while her sister and father seem to have such vivid memories.
Meanwhile, two neighborhood families have sent off sons to serve in Afghanistan. The brother of the girls’ friend Sam has returned, but the other boy did not survive the combat. The woodlands around these families are full of shared experiences and provide the neighborhood children with comfort.
Against this backdrop, Sylvie disappears on a run in the forest. Just as Sylvie goes missing, a fox, Senna is born. A parallel narrative in the surrounding woodland comes to life.
The animals live in their own community and Senna, the young fox, finds herself drawn to the human girl, Jules. Spotting a fox is believed to bring luck, but Jules senses that this young fox and her family are bringing her something more.
In her deep sorrow, Jules is surrounded by her community, both human and animal, who help her move through her longing and loss. Suspend for a time the line that is often drawn between humans and animals, then read this lovely story of hope aloud with the children in your life. Ages 10 and up. (Atheneum)