A Game of Fox & Squirrels (Hardcover)
I marvel at the skill of Jenn Reese’s undeniably powerful A Game of Fox & Squirrels. With magical animals, a board game concept and highly realistic woodland setting, readers will be rewarded with an emotionally-moving story of two sisters coming to terms with the scary reality of parental abuse and the ways we cope to sustain our mental health. The story pulls readers into the lives of the girls as they are moved out from their home to live with an unknown aunt in another state. The trauma portrayed is not depicted in detail, but kindness, understanding and resilience of spirit is captured throughout this astonishing game-like adventure. Highly recommended!— Maureen Palacios
A 2021 Oregon Book Award Winner
An NPR Best Book of 2020
A Finalist for the 2021-22 Maine Student Book Award
A 2021 Mythopoeic Awards Finalist
Andre Norton Award finalist Jenn Reese explores the often thin line between magic and reality, light and darkness in her enchanting middle grade standalone.
"Brings to life, viscerally, what it is like to live in fear of abuse—even after the abuse itself is over. But there is magic here too, and the promise of a better future that comes with learning to let people who care about you into your world." —Alan Gratz, New York Times-bestselling author of Refugee
“A captivating and touching story… both whimsical and emotionally—sometimes frighteningly—compelling.” —Ingrid Law, Newbery Honor-winning author of Savvy
"Magically creative and deeply honest, A Game of Fox & Squirrels merges games and grimness in a fantasy tale that tells the truth." —Elana K. Arnold, Printz Honor-winning author of Damsel and A Boy Called Bat
After an incident shatters their family, eleven-year old Samantha and her older sister Caitlin are sent to live in rural Oregon with an aunt they've never met. Sam wants nothing more than to go back to the way things were… before she spoke up about their father's anger.
When Aunt Vicky gives Sam a mysterious card game called "A Game of Fox & Squirrels," Sam falls in love with the animal characters, especially the charming trickster fox, Ashander. Then one day Ashander shows up in Sam’s room and offers her an adventure and a promise: find the Golden Acorn, and Sam can have anything she desires.
But the fox is hiding rules that Sam isn't prepared for, and her new home feels more tempting than she'd ever expected. As Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, the line between magic and reality grows thin. If she makes the wrong move, she'll lose far more than just a game.
Perfect for fans of Barbara O'Connor, Lauren Wolk, and Ali Benjamin, A Game of Fox & Squirrels is a stunning, heartbreaking novel about a girl who finds the light in the darkness... and ultimately discovers the true meaning of home.
Jenn Reese (she/they) writes speculative fiction for readers of all ages. She is the author of A Game of Fox & Squirrels, an NPR Best Book of 2020, a finalist for the Andre Norton Award and the Mythopoeic Award, and winner of the Oregon Book Award. Her other publications include the Above World trilogy and numerous short stories and essays. Jenn lives in Portland, Oregon where she makes art, plays video games, and talks to the birds.
Visit her at jennreese.com.
A Evanston Public Library Best of the Year Selection
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year 2021 Selection
“Beautifully written...Reese’s pairing of a realistic depiction of lived trauma with its allegorical-fantasy reflection proves stunningly effective.” –Kirkus, Starred Review
"A poignant fantastical allegory... that presents generational trauma and its echoes unflinchingly." –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Reese spins a tale about child abuse that is touched with fantasy...a powerful tool for working through trauma." –Booklist
"An engaging blend of genres...dealing with realistic issues that will be a solid addition to elementary or middle school libraries." –School Library Journal
"It’s satisfying to watch Sam move from obedience born of self-preservation to being able to defy Ashander in order to protect others...the sympathetic heroine makes this a likable read with broad appeal." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Once in an age, you read a book that is so true and so lovely that it's as if your own bruised and hopeful heart had come sailing into your hands in book form. A Game of Fox & Squirrels is that book for me. It is perfect. Sometimes magic happens: we needed this story in our world, and now it is here." —Anne Nesbet, author of The Cabinet of Earths and Daring Darleen
"Hauntingly beautiful, funny, dark and true, and so full of magic and heart. This story will stay with me forever." —Stephanie Burgis, author of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart
"Jenn Reese is masterful in her delicate rendering of a vulnerable child navigating the boundaries of family loyalty. The story will quietly burrow its way into the hearts of the children who need it, inspiring bravery and truth. Unforgettable." —Tracy Holczer, author of Everything Else in the Universe
"An important, moving book about resilience in the face of abuse, and about emerging from a very dark place into hope." —Sarah Prineas, author of Dragonfell
"The way Jenn Reese illuminates a path to hope through dark times is what makes this book essential reading." —Greg van Eekhout, author of Voyage of the Dogs
“A Game of Fox & Squirrels overflows with courage, and it’s willing to share.” —William Alexander, National Book Award-winning author of Goblin Secrets