Winner of the 2023 NCTE Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children
Twelve-year-old Gabe doesn’t know where he belongs anymore. His family is caught up in their own lives and his friends barely have time for him now that they’re stars on the soccer team. In a desperate plea for attention to impress his friends after school, Gabe sets off fireworks in the woods near his house and causes a small forest fire that destroys several acres of land.
In the chaos of the destruction, a coyote named Rill—tired of her family and longing for adventure—finds herself far from home. Already on animal control’s watch for wandering into a backyard and snapping at a child, Rill crawls into a cave, where she nurses her wounds alone.
Gabe and Rill’s paths irrevocably cross when Gabe is tasked with cleaning up the forest through the court’s restorative justice program. The damage to the land and both their lives is beyond what the two can imagine. But together, they discover that sometimes it only takes one friend to find the place where you belong.