I almost feel guilty sometimes reading books that are advertised as YA since I have not been "Y" for many decades. But I saw the trailer for the movie and so bought the book. I opened it and then suddenly it was hours later and i was still sitting there reading as Sarah Weeks brought the story to a very bittersweet end. 12 year old Heidi does not come across as a preternaturally wise and omniscient protagonist that so often describes literary child characters. She pretty much lives in a bubble with her mentally disabled mother - insulated by a kind neighbor/roommate and her special "good luck" powers that help keep the wolves from the door.
Weeks does an excellent job of developing Heidi's growing frustration with how little she knows about herself, her family,or why she is where she is. After finding a clue in an old camera she decides that she has to follow it and the story of that trip and what she finds at the other end is the meat of the story. As in life, there are no pat solutions and no simple answers. She finds more frustration, anger, fear, and unexpected kindness and love and we see through her eyes as she comes to understand how life often does not grant us 'closure". There was an opportunity for a "happily ever after" ending but Weeks shies away from it and gives us a more nuanced explanation - but one that does not give the reader the closure that Heidi worked so hard to find. A wonderful and entrancing read.