Love Me Tender

 By Audrey Couloumbis

Love me Tender

Elvira’s worried about her Elvis-impersonator Daddy’s defection to participate in a contest out there in L.A. He said he was leaving, he said Elvira should take care of things—he didn’t say a word about coming back. He didn’t look like Daddy when he said it. He looked like Elvis. A familiar stranger, disturbing as that was.  

Since he’s gone, it looks like her middle-aged (old), heavily pregnant mother may never get out of the recliner. The eight-year-old sister, who is acting like she’s three again, may never grow up, and obviously will always be Elvira’s responsibility.

When Mom’s sister calls and says their mother is dying, both of them being people Elvira doesn’t know and has heard very little about, Mom takes them on an unexpected road trip. And when they arrive, unexpected takes on a whole new meaning. Elvis impersonator? It seems Elvira’s parents’ oddities are the new normal.

“Tart characterizations, lively dialogue and Elvira’s frank narration keep this perceptive novel both credible and buoyant.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Couloumbis is at the top of her form here as she constructs believable, complex characters and sets them in dynamic relationships with one another.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Couloumbis’s rich, realistic dialogue between mothers, daughters and sisters will induce both laughter and sniffles in middle-grade fans of Kimberly Willis Holt and Catherine Murdock. As sweetly sappy and touching as the song it’s named for.” —Kirkus

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