Friday, April 09, 2021

Middle-Grade Review: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

I always enjoy Dan Gemeinhart's novels, like The Honest Truth (one of his best), but now I have a new favorite: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. I absolutely loved this warm, funny, moving story about loss, grief, family, and friendship.

Twelve-year-old Coyote lives with her dad, Rodeo (yeah, he's a bit of a hippie), in a refurbished school bus. The two of them have been on the road in the bus continuously for the past five years, ever since a tragedy that they don't talk about happened. Coyote mostly enjoys their quirky lifestyle, though it does get lonely sometimes, especially when she meets someone she thinks might become a friend and then they move on. At that start of the novel, Coyote adopts a kitten, whom she names Ivan after her favorite book (The One and Only Ivan, of course), and he provides a bit of the companionship she's been missing. One Sunday, when Coyote makes her weekly phone call home to her grandma, she finds out that something big is happening in their hometown next week, something that Coyote just has to be there in time for. The problem is that her dad has refused to even talk about their hometown, let alone return to it, for five years. So, Coyote hatches a plan to get her dad to drive cross-country for four days straight ... without knowing their real destination. As they begin their journey from Florida to Washington state, they also begin to pick up stray travelers along the way (as long as they can answer Rodeo's three questions satisfactorily). There's Lester, who has to get to Idaho to return to the woman he loves, and Salvador and his mom, who also seem to have some sadness and loss in their own recent past, and Val, a young woman looking for a safe place to be her true self. This ragtag bunch of travelers come together on this epic journey, each moving toward his or her own destiny.

As always, Gemeinhart here digs into some serious issues of loss and grief but always with warmth and a great sense of humor. Coyote is a truly remarkable character, strong and kind, who has been through a lot of tragedy and hurt in her young life. The secondary characters are just as wonderful, each bringing his or her own unique traits to the group so that they are truly stronger as a whole. Our family has always loved cross-country road trips, so I especially enjoyed the travel descriptions and Coyote and Rodeo's pursuit of the perfect sandwich. There are plenty of laughs here, as well as some happy tears toward the end. Khristine Hvam does an excellent job narrating, I was engrossed from the very beginning, and I loved every minute of the audio. All of this comes together in a heartwarming, poignant, funny story of healing, family, and friendship. I'm already missing Coyote!

352 pages, Square Fish

Macmillan Audio

Visit my YouTube Channel for more bookish fun!


Listen to a sample of the excellent audiobook here, from the opening scene of the book, and/or download it from Audible.


You can buy the book through, where your purchase will support the indie bookstore of your choice (or all indie bookstores)--the convenience of shopping online while still buying local!



Or you can order The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. I think this book sounds like a wonderful option for kids who don't feel like they fit in, which, of course, is just about everyone!

    1. Definitely, Ann - such a warm, wonderful story full of optimism and love!

  2. I've been hearing about this one and it sounds fantastic!

    1. It was! My favorite Gemeinhart novel yet!