I really, really wanted to like this book. Honest. I adore 95% of the dog book I read. But the author's unique (albeit overused) expressions (hornets whirled; cougars scratching behind my eyes; God's bones; I need an ice cube; grit, sand, and more grit and sand, still more grit and sand, and even more; and the number of phone calls from the mother who couldn't get through her thick skull that her daughter wanted to be called Rosie, for Pete's sake, not Rosalita, and more grit and sand) constantly bumped me out of the story. I found myself hating the mother and liking Swanson, and getting really aggravated with the author, so there was some genuine emotion as I read this (garnering at least 2 stars), but mostly the hyperbole that was this sad little friendless girl was just too much. And Philippe and his coat? Who cares? The snake hunt? What's with that? I liked the grandpa (even though Rosie hated him) and the descriptions of the bike, but beyond that, I felt the muddy murky middle could have been greatly reduced with much greater effect and less annoyance and aggravation for the reader. Over the top. I think I need an ice cube myself, from beating myself over the head with this book.