Goodreads: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Published: April 2020
Coyote and her father have been on the road for five years, traveling in a remodeled school bus. Her mother and two sisters died in a car crash five years ago, and they are determined never to look back. However, when Coyote learns that the park where she and mom and sisters buried a time capsule is going to be paved over, she knows she has to return home. She can’t lose another piece of them. Now she has to figure out how to make her way across the country before the demolition–all without her father noticing where they are going.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is one of those shining books where the heroes capture your heart and the story makes you believe in the ultimate goodness of humanity. Thirteen-year-old Coyote Sunshine and her father rodeo set out to travel the country after her mom and her two sisters died in a car crash. Now, however, Coyote needs to return home if she is to save the memory box they buried together in a park. The catch is, Rodeo never wants to go back. To succeed in making it across the U.S. without her father’s knowledge, Coyote will need the help of the band of individuals she picks up along the way. Each has their own story to tell, a reason why they are running, or why they need to move forward. Together, they create a tapestry of the human condition, reminding readers that things may get tough, but there will always be someone to pick you up.
In a way, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is an “issues” book, and one can see why that would make it the type of read that had people speculating it could have won the 2020 Newbery. (Jerry Craft’s New Kid ultimately took the medal.) Coyote herself is dealing with loss and an inability to process her grief fully. But the people she and Rodeo pick up have their own troubles–some are escaping from domestic violence, one has been kicked out of the house for coming out, one is dealing with a difficult romantic relationship while trying to figure out who he is. On the one hand, all of this crammed into one book could arguably be overwhelming. On the other hand, it is completely on trend these days for contemporary MG novels to try to deal with as many difficult topics as possible. Cue Newbery speculation.
Personally, I think the number of difficult topics in this book works because the overall idea is that all the people are going on a journey–but they need to do it together in order to make it. It feels like there is a certain unity to all the stories, unlike in many MG books where different characters are introduced and revealed to have problems seemingly just so the author can check off a list of hot topics to discuss. Here, each character gets their chance in the spotlight, and their tales ultimately intertwine as they listen to each other, learn from each other, and support each other.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is a tearjerker, for sure, but it is also a book full of hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that people will choose the right thing. I cried for Coyote, but I closed the book feeling uplifted. And I think the world needs plenty of uplifting books.