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The Land of 10,000 Madonnas
Contributor(s): Hattemer, Kate
ISBN: 0385391579     ISBN-13: 9780385391573
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc
    OUR PRICE: $17.81  
Product Type: Hardcover - Other Formats
Published: April 2016
Annotation: Three cousins take a roadtrip through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their fourth cousin.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Cousins; Fiction.
Travel; Fiction.
Death; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2015015899
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 6.00" W x 1.25" (1.00 lbs) 344 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall)
After eighteen-year-old Jesse Serrano dies, the five young adults closest to him attempt to track down his long-gone mother. They follow her trail from Frankfurt to Rome on a quest that's by turns poignant, humorous, tense, and joyful. Interspersed with Jesse's meditative journal entries, the chapters shift point of view among the travelers, conveying their various (and very different) experiences of grief and healing.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2016 #2)
Not long after eighteen-year-old Jesse Serrano dies from a congenital heart defect, the five young adults closest to him—his girlfriend Lillian; his best friend Matt; and his cousins Callista ("Cal"), Trevor, and Ben—find themselves on a European tour bequeathed by Jesse and financed by his unused college fund. Each of them has inherited something of Jesse's: a collection of maps, a watch, a photograph, a journal, a credit card. While Jesse's rationale for the trip is initially unclear to the characters, they figure it out soon enough: he's hoping they will track down his mother, Thea, who abandoned him and his father when Jesse was an infant. They follow Thea's trail from Frankfurt to Rome on a quest that's by turns poignant, humorous, tense, and joyful. Point of view shifts among the five travelers as Hattemer conveys their various (and very different) experiences of grief and healing. Between Jesse's meditative interspersed journal entries, the chapters' changing POV, and the flashbacks included in both, the timeline can be a bit hard to follow, but this occasionally roundabout quality of the narrative is well suited to the whirlwind trip. The characters—especially Jesse himself, in his own writing and in his keenly felt absence—are realistic and relatable. katie bircher

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2016 February #1)

Cal, Trevor, Ben, Matt, and Lillian were the cousins, best friend, and girlfriend of the late Jesse Serrano, a boy born with a hole in his heart whose body finally succumbed to the inevitable. Heartbroken and lost, the five recent high school graduates head on a mission to Europe, plotted by Jesse, to find the mother who abandoned him as a baby. Resentment, confusion, and despair about losing Jesse threaten to upend the trip, as the teens squabble about their lost friend, his wishes, and their presence (or lack thereof) during the last months of his life. Hattemer's vivid third-person narrative and occasional excerpts from Jesse's journal create a layered story of big questions and intense relationships, new and old. Even as cousin Cal and ex-girlfriend Lillian bicker, the travel adventures are peppered with humor and quirky characters. Hattemer (The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy) never resorts to melodrama or sensationalizes anyone's grief, making for a moving read for readers of all ages. Ages 12–up. Agent: Uwe Stender, Triada U.S. Literary Agency. (Apr.)

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Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 March)

Gr 9 Up—Born with a hole in his heart, Jesse Serrano dies at 17, and though his loved ones have always known he would die young, his family and friends are left bereft and confused at how to sort through the grieving process. But Jesse had a plan for his final goodbye: plane tickets and a map to Europe mailed to his cousins, best friend, and girlfriend without much of an explanation as to the trip's purpose. For his cousins, Cal, Ben, and Trevor, there is the guilt of having been caught up more in the last years of high school than in their cousin's life, and for his best friend, Matt, and girlfriend Lillian, the trip comes as a shove back into the world after a year of grief. It takes a while for the group to become comfortable with one another, particularly Cal and Lillian. Cal is carrying a notebook titled "Juvenalia" left to her by Jesse, which she refuses to share; Lillian is angry and prideful about sharing the memory of Jesse; and it takes numerous explosive fights for them to break through their protective walls and relate. The group figure out their mission and somewhat resentfully and hopefully trudge their way through Europe on their quest. VERDICT John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Rainbow Rowell fans will be deeply moved by Hattemer's novel of a pilgrimage.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

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