Me and Rupert Goody

written by Barbara O'Connor

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Learning to share love

Things at Jennalee's house are just plain crazy, which is why she loves her predictable days helping Uncle Beau (who isn't really her uncle) at his general store. But then Rupert Goody shows up, claiming to be Uncle Beau's son. Jennalee can't believe it, because Rupert is black and Uncle Beau is white. But Uncle Beau tells her it is true and incorporates Rupert into his life, ruining Jennalee's routine.

Although Rupert is slow, he is kind-hearted and tries hard to please. When more unforeseen events -- this time frightening ones -- further interrupt life at the store, Jennalee comes to see that Rupert Goody, odd though he may be, is certainly not the worst unexpected thing that could come along, and that he belongs with Uncle Beau as much as she does. With a vividly depicted setting, emotional truth, and a distinctly Southern voice, Barbara O'Connor shows that there is love enough to go around.


Read an Excerpt

Me and Rupert Goody
OneBefore Rupert Goody waltzed hisself into Claytonville, I nearly always knew how my days would start and how they'd end. Could've bet my last nickel on nearly everything in between. That's how I like things--predictable. That's how come I spend my days at Uncle Beau's.Let me explain right off the bat that Uncle Beau ain't really my uncle. Ain't no relation to me at all. Everybody in Claytonville calls him Uncle Beau. Always have, far as I know Uncle Beau's General Store's been around as long as Claytonville has, I reckon. Maybe longer. Anybody looking to find me might as


Praise for Me and Rupert Goody

"Eleven-year-old Jennalee Helton spends most of her days with Uncle Beau Goody, enjoying his friendship and helping out at his general store where she can count on her routine staying the same-unlike her chaotic life at home. But then one day Rupert Goody shows up. . .and Jennalee stubbornly refuses to accept this stranger who she fears will take her place in Uncle Beau's heart. . .Gracefully written." --The Horn Book
"A sensitive story about love, belonging, and tolerance set in North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains . . . O'Connor has given [Jennalee] a fresh and authentic child's voice and has created a very real, down-home sense of place. An absorbing story peopled with carefully drawn and memorable characters." -- Starred, School Library Journal

"[A] gutsy, heartwarming novel, which ultimately shows the capacity for love in the human heart." -- Booklist
"Jennalee is vividly drawn, bristling with every slight, achingly dependent on the stability she can only find with her elderly companion." --starred review; Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books"A reluctant heroine narrates this triumphant tale set in a contemporary North Carolina town where time seems to have stopped….How this stubborn but winning protagonist travels from complete resentment to acceptance of her rival for Uncle Beau’s affections is a journey readers won’t want to miss." --starred review; Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • written by Barbara O'Connor

  • Barbara O'Connor was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and currently lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. Her first novel was Beethoven in Paradise.
  • Barbara O'Connor Photo by Bill O'Connor
    Barbara O'Connor


Available Formats and Book Details

Me and Rupert Goody

written by Barbara O'Connor

American Library Association Notable Children's Books, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • e-Book