I enjoyed this fantasy world with Willodeen. Not under the best of circumstances, I liked how Willodeen discovered a problem and was persistent as she worked to solve it. A strong, determined character, she was compassionate to others and I felt that although she alone, she knew she wasn’t lonely.
After a fire claimed the lives of her parents and a sibling, Willodeen lives with 2 older women who were healers. Willodeen is a quiet girl who prefers to spend her time in the great outdoors; observing nature and taking notes. Willodeen likes to search for Screechers. Although, they’re not the adorable hummingbears (small bear with wings) that the villagers all loved, to Willodeen, they were her favorite. Her father had taught her to love all things including unlovable things which to some individuals included the Screechers. Yes, these Screechers produced a loud screech but they also were grumpy, smelly creatures that were definitely unwelcomed by the villagers.
The villagers are aware of Willodeen’s passion for the Screechers and I couldn’t believe how cruel and immature some of them were towards her. She was an 11-year-old girl for cripes sake! I was glad when Connor was introduced to Willodeen. Connor and Willodeen are both reserved and smart individuals and they both also needed a friend. I enjoyed reading how their friendship evolved.
As the Autumn Faire date approaches, the village starts to plan the annual celebration. This year though, it isn’t looking good financially for the town. As the village’s huge moneymaker, the hummingbears haven’t made their annual return yet. They know, if they don’t return, neither will the tourists. The villagers need this revenue to survive. What can they do to get them back? Why have they suddenly stopped coming? Where are they? Lots of questions are hanging in the air and there seems to be only one person who has all the answers. One person with a notebook full of notes. Another great read by Katherine Applegate. 5 stars