Matylda, Bright & Tender

Wow! If I could give a book more than five stars out of five, this would be the one. It’s rare that a book can make me laugh out loud, wipe away tears, and stay up most of the night so I can finish it in one day. But Matylda, Bright & Tender by Holly M. McGhee made me do all of these.matyldaMatylda, Bright & Tender is the story of two best friends, Sussy and Guy, who have been together since they built the never-ending potato in the Mr. Potato Head corner in kindergarten. They walk to and from school together, they play together—although not all the time—and spend time at each other’s homes after school.

One afternoon, their lives change. They convince Sussy’s dad that they need to have a pet that they can own together. Sussy’s dad takes them to Total Pets, where they pick out a leopard gecko. Sussy and Guy name her Matylda, and she lives in a vivarium on the dresser in Sussy’s bedroom.

Sussy and Guy love Matylda. They figure out how to trap crickets for her to eat. They get her to walk up Guy’s arm and sit on the back of his neck (she doesn’t want to walk on Sussy’s hand). And, most important of all, they create her origin story, giving her an identity beyond simply having lived in a pet store before they adopted her.

Matylda becomes the focus of their days, until something of even greater significance and impact happens in their lives.

In Sussy and Guy, Matylda, Bright & Tender introduces us to two characters that readers will quickly fall in love with. They are genuine, honest, and realistic. Their friendship is strong and pure, and they are truly devoted to one another.

The book is narrated in first person from Sussy’s perspective. Her love for Guy is evident in all of her descriptions of him. We watch Sussy grow and overcome challenges as the book progresses, and I, for one, was actively rooting for her by the end.

Matylda, Bright & Tender was written by Holly M. McGhee. Ms. McGhee is both author and literary agent, founder of the agency Pippin Properties. As an author, Ms. McGhee previously wrote under the pen name Hallie Durand. While writing as Hallie Durand, Ms. McGhee published a chapter book series (Dessert First) and multiple picture books. Matylda, Bright & Tender is the first book Ms. McGhee has published under her own name. She has a picture book, Come With Me, coming out in the fall.

Ms. McGhee can be found online at www.hollymcghee.com. The heading on her website is “holly m. mcghee (who sometimes goes by the name Hallie Durand).” Very clever! Ms. McGhee has a blog on her website.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book so that I could provide an unbiased review. Without a doubt, this will be one of my top books of 2017!

Have you read any great books lately?

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