Aggie isn t expecting visitors at the Sleepy Time Motel in the Great Smoky Mountains Since her husband died, she is all alone with her cat, Ugly, and keeping up with the bills and repairs has become next to impossible The pool is empty, the garden is overgrown, and not a soul has come to stay in nearly three months When she reluctantly places a For Sale ad in the newspaper, Aggie doesn t know that Kirby and his mom will need a room when their car breaks down on the way to Kirby s new reform school Or that Loretta and her parents will arrive in her dad s plumbing company van on a trip meant to honor the memory of Loretta s birth mother Or that Clyde Dover will answer the For Sale ad in such a hurry and move in with his daughter, Willow, looking for a brand new life to replace the one that was fractured when Willow s mom left Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that Aggie and her guests find just the friends they need at the shabby motel in the middle of nowhereFrom an author long recognized for her true Southern voice and heartfelt characters, Greetings from Nowhere, with its four intertwining stories, brings Barbara O Connor s work to a new level of sophisticationThis title has Common Core connections I loved all the characters and really got to know them, this book was original, and amazing, overall one of my personal favorite. In Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O Connor, widow Agnes Duncan is going to have to sell the Sleepy Time Motel that she and her husband Harold used to run Guests are not coming, and the place is falling apart But just as she s about to the sign the papers, three families arrive, each with a troubled child Loretta s biological mom has died and left her with a charm bracelet showing all the places she might have gone Now Loretta s adoptive parents are taking her on a journey to discover those places Kirby s mom is taking him to a military style school, but her car died and she ran out of money before she got there Meanwhile, Willow s mom Dorothy has left her and her father, Clyde, and her dad wants to start a new life by the buying the old motel This is a light and beautiful tale, filled with love and perfect details that make a person feel good. Another great book by Barbara O Connor with a NC setting I just finished reading Greetings from Nowhere What a beautifully crafted story If I could write, this is the story I would want to tell The characters are so well defined that the reader develops a close relationship with each one I was sad when I reached the end The story was over much too soon I can t wait to share this book with my fifth graders I know that they will feel my enthusiasm and will want to read it as well Thank you, Ms O Connor I am looking forward to reading your other books I hope you will consider a sequel, so that I can learn what happens to Aggie, Willow, Loretta, and most of all, Kirby I have known many Kirbys during my teaching career. My granddaughter loves the Barbara O Connor books so I gave her several for Christmas. Loved this book, but liked the first cover better I have the kids do a predicting activity, but since the cover changed and I had a copy of it, I had the students do the predicting activity but had two different types of responses which was interesting I love the story either way Great quick read for young adults Aggie, the widowed owner of the Sleepytime Motel, can no longer keep her business afloat When she finally decides that it s time to let it go, she suddenly finds that her quaint little motel in the Great Smoky Mountains isn t so sleepy after all Before long, she meets she meets Willow, whose father wants to buy the motel, Kirby, who s being dragged to reform school, and Loretta, who s chasing memories of her biological mother Can the children and their families find what they re looking for in the ramshackle rooms and empty pool of the Sleepytime Motel We begin our tale with Aggie, who s unable to keep up with the increasingly difficult challenges of running a motel Although it s clear that she loves the motel and the echoes of her life that haunt its empty rooms, the most logical choice is to sell it, and so that s what she decides to do Given that the loss of the motel in many ways mirrors the loss of her husband and the life they shared there, it s understandable that Aggie soon gets cold feet.Willow, whose father sees the classified ad, is also no stranger to loss After her mother leaves the state and her husband and daughter , Willow s father decides that buying the Sleepytime Motel might just be the ticket to fixing his broken heart Willow s broken heart, however, is not so easily fixed Without the proper tools to deal with her abrupt loss, she s left alone in her backyard to speak her mother s name aloud like some tiny, defiant incantation When her father buys the motel, however, Willow meets Aggie and realizes that she has the power to be strong in front of others.The second child to end up at the motel is Kirby, who at first is defined by the contents of his pockets and his mother s angry words than by his own internal narrative When his mother s car breaks down as she s driving him to reform school, the motel becomes their home until his stepfather can send money to fix the car As the story progresses, O Connor grants us brief glimpses of Kirby s self awareness and his desire to be seen as than just the bad child, but by the end of the tale, his story is the most unclear what will his new school be like Will his time at the motel help him open his heart and his pockets to others Loretta, the third child and final narrator, has the least tumultuous tale Loretta knows she s loved by her parents, and while her journey is focused on retracing the steps of her biological mother, it s not a trip borne of the desire to fill some gaping hole in her heart She s curious, gregarious, and generous, and given the overwhelming love showered upon her by her parents, it s no wonder that she seems so well adjusted in comparison to her peers.O Connor is no stranger to writing about loss, but it was fascinating to see the lengths to which she explored Aggie s heartbreak, particularly given that Aggie is an adult narrator in a children s book While Aggie is physically and sometimes mentally removed from the bustling world out by the interstate, she is still able to forge an emotional connection to the kids because her way of thinking and speaking is so simplistic that it s almost childish She delights in simple things like Ugly, her cat, tomatoes, printed motel soap, and tiny horses made of china, which both endears her to the children at the motel and makes her an interesting character for young readers I especially loved the bond between Aggie and Willow While the loss of a spouse is a very different loss than that of a parent, the two are able to help each other grieve and continue working through their pain.In truth, all of the characters are beautifully written, even those whose backstories are glossed over, like the parents of Loretta and Kirby The scenes where the children interact with one another are delightfully pure and accurate representations of how children behave in real life.The motel itself was another standout in this novel It s lovingly described in such detail that it s hard to believe that it isn t out there in the mountains right now, empty pool and all.This novel is short, and it tiptoes from chapter to chapter as delicately as Willow tiptoes around in her plastic shoes There s no sudden climax, no heartbreaking twist, but the characters and the location are clearly defined and powerful enough to drive the story Willow eventually hears from her mother and convinces her father that Aggie and Ugly belong with them at the motel, Kirby realizes that he s than the narrative that his mother has created for him, and Loretta ends her journey early, at peace with what she s found of her mother The motel itself gets some TLC, and the implication is that the fresh paint and new sign will be enough to save it.The ending isn t happy, exactly, but nor is it sad It simply reads as a moment in time centered around a place that can change you, if only you re willing to let it. I loved this one Wait until you meet these lovable characters Aggie is most endearing and each child from Willow to Loretta, and even little Kirby are unforgettable I love the way Barbara O Conner writes Her book, How to Steal a Dog is one of my all time favorites Please give us book like thesethey are great read alouds