I recommend this book for: grades 4-7
Tess loves living on a small island in Maine - catching lobsters on her father's boat, attending a tiny school, and knowing everyone by name feel like home to her. Unfortunately, her school is so tiny that the state wants to shut it down, which would force Tess and her family to move to the mainland and an entirely different way of life. The residents of the island decide to increase the school's population to reverse the state's decision, and several families take in foster children.
Tess thinks she knows all about foster kids after reading Anne of Green Gables and The Great Gilly Hopkins, but her new foster brother Aaron (although red-headed) is not what she's expecting. A 13 year old musician, he's been in foster homes since his grandmother died, and he hasn't seen or heard from his mother since before that. It's hard for him to relate to Tess and her happy family, and just when it seems she's getting through to him and gaining his trust, her plan to make him want to stay with her family threatens to get him taken away for good.
I loved Lord's Rules, so I was very excited to see this one on the shelf. There are some similarities, but instead of rules for behavior, Tess is governed by superstitions about luck. I liked the local color of Touch Blue - the details of the place really made it shine. Another thing I really appreciated was that, although religion wasn't a major theme of the book, church was a part of life for the characters. That is a rare thing in books for young people, and it was nice to see kids involved in church activities and thinking about God without it being a heavy-handed thing. This is a nice, uplifting story about family and what it means to belong somewhere.
Reviews and an excerpt