A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
One of the characters is big on the concept of equity, which influences assorted plot developments. The story's set in 1979 in the South, offering many opportunities to see how things were different then. One of the characters loves art, and as Beverly gets to know him we all learn more about the subject -- and how Renaissance painters got a particular shade of blue by grinding up lapis lazuli.
Strong messages about friendship, belonging, trust, and looking out for one another.
Positive Role Models
Fourteen-year-old Beverly spends much of the book lying about her age, working hard at a fish house, and driving the old lady who takes her in to bingo at the VFW (because the lady's "helpful" neighbor frowns on gambling). She's tough, vulnerable, smart, fearless in defending her friends, and desperately alone without BFF Raymie (back home) and dog Buddy (now deceased). Raymie and their friend Louisana, who's also far away, remain a strong, supportive presence even when they're not there. Iola, the eccentric old lady who takes Beverly in, Elmer, the kind teen at the convenience mart, and a large cast of characters around town seem odd but do the right thing in a crisis.
Violence & Scariness
One of the characters was bullied a lot, physically and otherwise, at school, and gets upset when his tormentor sends him a vaguely threatening message. The death of beloved dog Buddy causes Beverly to think there's nothing left for her at home and nothing matters. The local teen bully interrupts a Christmas-in-July party to rob the restaurant. It doesn't go well for him: An employee subdues him and holds him for the cops. Beverly explains her tooth is chipped because when she was a little kid she fell down because her mother's latest boyfriend was chasing her because she'd stolen his wallet. One of the customers at the restaurant is a butt-pincher who gives his victims large tips.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Budding attraction and a bit of hand-holding between Beverly and a 16-year-old boy.
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Occasional "crap," "piss off."
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Products & Purchases
Beverly drives Iola's ancient Pontiac. Definitely not a product endorsement.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main reason 14-year-old Beverly leaves home in the wake of her dog's death is that her mom is drunk again, and she's had enough. Many adult characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beverly, Right Here is the third book in a trilogy by Kate DiCamillo that began with Raymie Nightingale. Each book spotlights one of three BFFs. As this one opens, it's 1979, and 14-year-old Beverly Tapinski's beloved dog has just died. Also, her mom is drunk, as usual. So she hitches a ride with her cousin to a little seaside town where, thanks to a lot of kind strangers, she soon lands a job and forms an odd little family. There's smoking (by adults and older teens) and drinking (by adults), the occasional "piss" and "crap," plus an underage kid driving an old lady to bingo and similar shenanigans. But friendship, kindness, unexpected connection, belonging, and trust carry the day, even when it seems like the bullies of the world will always win.
Is It Any Good?
This moving story about a runaway teen and a quirky cast of her newfound friends is a fitting conclusion to Kate DiCamillo's trilogy about best friends in 1970s Florida. Beverly, Right Here shows how Beverly Tapinski, now 14, has always had to look out for herself, leaves home when her dog dies, and builds a new life a seaside town. She soon lands a job, finds a place to live, and gains some kind friends who look out for her and one another. But everyone's got troubles -- a broken family, abuse by a bully, a sad sense of loss as loved ones die. Whether driving an old lady named lola to bingo in an ancient car, messing with the local bully, or reminiscing about how she used to steal from her drunk mom's sleazy boyfriends, Beverly's a force to be reckoned with -- tough, vulnerable, with a strong sense of right and wrong.
"Beverly could think of all kinds of reasons not to trust.
"People leave -- that was one of the reasons.
"People pretended to care, but they don't, really -- that was another one.
"Dogs die, and your friends help you to put them in the ground.
"That was a big one, right there.
"'You can stay with me,' said Iola. She reached over and patted Beverly's arm. 'We will help each other out. We'll trust each other.'"
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.