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Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best mystery
Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
“Like its heroine, this contemporary mystery is compelling, offbeat, and fearless.” —The Horn Book
“A sensitive, suspenseful mystery that deftly navigates the uncertainty of mental illness.” —Kirkus Reviews
Footer Davis is on the case when two kids go missing after a fire in this humorously honest novel that is full of Southern style.
“Bless your heart” is a saying in the South that sounds nice but really isn’t. It means, “You’re beyond help.” That’s what folks say about fifth grader Footer Davis’s mom, who “ain’t right” because of her bipolar disorder. She just shot a snake in Footer’s yard with an elephant gun, and now she’s been shipped off to a mental hospital, and Footer is missing her fiercely yet again.
“Bless their hearts” is also what folks say about Cissy and Doc Abrams, two kids who went missing after a house fire. Footer wants to be a journalist and her friend Peavine wants to be a detective, so the two decide to help with the mystery of the missing kids. But when visiting the crime scene makes Footer begin to have “episodes” of her own, she wonders if maybe she’s getting sick like her mom, and that’s a mystery that she’s not at all sure she wants to solve.