Eleven and Holding

Posted on Jun 4, 2016 in BR Library

9780062405470By Mary Penney
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 256
Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

Macy Hollinquest is eleven years old, and don’t count on her to change that anytime soon.

Her birthday is just days away, but she has no intention of turning twelve without her dad by her side. He’d promised to be there for her big day, and yet he’s been gone for months—away after his discharge from the army, doing some kind of top secret, “important work.”

So Macy’s staying eleven, no matter what—that is, until she meets Ginger, a nice older lady who is searching for her missing dog. Ginger’s dog search is the perfect cover for Macy’s attempt to locate her dad. But her hunt puts her on a path to a head-on collision with the truth, where she discovers that knowing can sometimes be a heavy burden. And that change, when finally accepted, comes with an unexpected kind of grace.

Mary Penney’s earnest, heartfelt story of change, loss, and new beginnings will resonate with young readers on the cusp of new beginnings, and stay in their hearts long after it’s done.


“Compassionate portrayals of grief, courage, and resilience season this compelling coming-of-age story from Penney (the author of Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity and other titles as Mary Hershey). Macy Hollinquest is on a mission to bring her father home in time for her 12th birthday; he served in Iraq and is now working on a mysterious “special project” in a nearby Colorado town. Distrustful of the adults in her life and especially frustrated with her mother, Macy turns to Switch, a charming 14-year-old runaway, who attempts to drive Macy to find her father on a motorbike with a sidecar: “And off we flew, looking exactly like my mother’s worst nightmare.” Dispersed throughout the narrative, letters in which Macy introduces herself to her new middle school teacher reveal her hidden struggles: ‘Here is something that I don’t like: C-H-A-N-G-E!’ Macy’s candid narrative voice and expressive observations (‘Aunt Liv’s life was like one of the sad country Western songs she played all day’) bring humor and pathos to Penney’s tender, emotionally satisfying story.”
Ages 8–12. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (June)
Publishers Weekly