Twelve-year-old Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have been on the road for five years, ever since her mom and sisters died in a car crash in her Washington State hometown. They’ve never gone back there, but they’ve been lots of other places, crisscrossing the country in their beat-up school bus-turned-mobile home named Yager. Coyote’s good with this life—with the passengers they pick up throughout their travels, with fruit punch slushies at gas stations, with the rock of the bus as she’s falling asleep. But when she hears the town she grew up in is destroying a childhood park—one where she and her sisters and mom buried a memory box only weeks before they died—she knows she has to get back there and rescue it before it’s destroyed.
The catch: Rodeo won’t go back there for anything. So Coyote has to get him to drive from Florida to Washington, in less than four days, without him realizing what she’s doing.
Along the way, they pick up a motley crew of travelers. They’re all running away, but they’re running towards something, too. And Coyote is going to need all of their help if she wants to rescue the memory box in time.
I read The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise in one sitting, which I think accurately represents how engrossing it is. Coyote is one of the most distinct protagonists I’ve met in realistic fiction novels, full of quirky details and a powerfully unique narrative which reflects her lifestyle and her personality. Each of the characters in this story has their own struggles and challenges, but Gemeinhart writes it in a way that makes it filled with hope for all of their futures, making this novel enjoyable, thought-provoking, and uplifting all at the same time. Coyote’s story feels new and different, and I love it. I highly recommend The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise to readers ages nine and up.