June Bug Jordan lost her father to AIDS, and since his death, things haven’t been the same. Her mother is terrified of infection and germs to the point that she refuses to leave the house, cook food, or have visitors. June Bug is hungry, grieving, and alone, until the summer of 1983 when Ziggy Karlo moves in down the street with his grandmother, Nana Jean. Ziggy, too, is struggling—his mother has decided he should live with Nana Jean because she needs time alone to “work things out” with her verbally abusive boyfriend. In the branches of the trees they climb and in the make-believe world they travel to in their minds, June Bug and Ziggy build a friendship that brings comfort to them both.
June Bug’s narration reveals both her deep vulnerability and her remarkable resilience. The depth of her yearning for a mother who can be there for her and for a life where she is fully taken care of is powerful and arresting, as are the moments where she finds some of the comfort and hope she’s searching for in her friendships with Ziggy and Nana Jean. With vividness and honesty, Marcella Pixley tells a stirring story about mental illness, trauma, and love, a story that shies away from neither the horrors nor the beauties of what it is to be human.
|Page Count||336 pages|
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