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The Exact Location of Home

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  397 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Kirby "Zig" Zigonski lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, buzzers, and motors. Electronics are, after all, much more predictable than most people--especially his father, who he hasn't seen in over a year. When his dad's latest visit is canceled with no explanation and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig turns to his best friend Gianna and a new gizmo- ...more
ebook, 1st, 224 pages
Published December 23rd 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Michelle Ardillo Being published as paperback 10/3/17! It's really good!

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Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book made me want to go geocaching and I bet it will do the same for many children. I've yet to meet a Kate Messner book that I didn't love.
Ms. Yingling
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by the publisher

Kirby ("Zig") Zigonski, a friend of Gianna Z's, is both sad and irritated that he hasn't seen his father for over a year. He knows his dad is busy with business deals and travels a lot, but since his mother is in nursing school and trying to make ends meet by waitressing, it would be nice to see him. When Zig gets a GPS unit in a big box of electronics at a garage sale, he starts geocaching again and suspects that "Senior Searcher" is really his father, leaving clues
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I read The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., I wanted to immediately return to that world and those characters. Luckily for us all, Messner apparently felt the same. Here we return to Gianna's world, but this time through the eyes of her friend, Zig. I absolutely loved this beautiful book. My only wish would be a print copy one day so I can more easily share it with my students.
Jen Petro-Roy
Kate Messner's best yet. This is pure middle-grade perfection.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In The Exact Location of Home, Zig and his friends spend a great deal of time together going to garage sales, skipping rocks, and just being together. When Zig gets a gps, they begin geocaching. But Zig hides a secret from his friends that has changed his entire world. As Zig grows, he finds support from an unexpected ally and gives support to a young boy, both facing similar circumstances as Zig. This one will tug at your heart. I thank the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to be an early ...more
Thank you @kidlitexchange for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

This middle grade book touches on so many wonderful topics: single parents trying to make ends meet, evictions, homelessness, wonderful friendships, environmental issues, sadness when you lose a loved one and even a bit of spousal abuse. I immediately felt all of the emotions that Zig was portraying and trying to cope with. Unfortunately, these are many situations that children have t
Judi Paradis
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kirby's dad only comes to visit occasionally, but when he does, it's an event--limos, parties, and shopping sprees. But his dad has now been gone for a year, and doesn't show for a promised visit. His mother won't tell him what's wrong, and they're going broke--in fact, homelessness is a real possibility. Kirby is desperate to reach out to his dad for help, and comes to believe that his father is leaving him clues through a geocaching game they both play. While Kirby frantically searches for clu ...more
Cassie Thomas
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kate Messner has blown me away again. The Exact Location of Home takes you through Zig's story and allows readers to understand that being "homeless" has many different looks and they don't all fit that stereotypical mold. As a teacher this book opened my eyes and making sure that I know my students living situations and their home lives as much as I can. There are amazing characters in this story whose parts play a huge role in the many themes and traveling through the plot exactly how they all ...more
Kate Olson
Thanks to Bloomsbury Kids for the advance copy of this novel for review purposes.

Messner has given us a compassionate and necessary middle grade story about the reality of homelessness for many children today. This story has a unique premise with the geocaching theme and I love that while the main character is in 8th grade he will be relatable for students both much younger and much older than he is. I would love to get this book into the hands of all teachers and administrators who struggle to
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGelley and the publisher for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own!

Kirby "Zig" Zigonsky is a middle school tinkerer who can't wait to see his dad, who has been MIA for over a year. When his latest visit with his dad gets cancelled, Zig starts on a geocaching mission around town to find him. Meanwhile, he and his mom go through a variety of hard times, including experiencing homelessness and staying in a shelter, and Zig does his best to navigate social relationships wi
Teresa Taylor
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I actually snuck this ARC book from my 12y old son who said this was his first choice selection for his advisory board. Once I saw it I had to read it too and I couldn't put it down. I was immediately drawn into the main character, Zig and the relationship with his mom as well as the supporting cast. I honestly, think that every middle schooler and teacher should read this book. As an adult, I am always a fan for middle school books that make you think -- and ones that make you see another persp ...more
Julie Suzanne
I appreciate middle grade books that portray difficult family situations, and this one satisfied my need for books like that. Zig is a latchkey kid, practically, with a difficult situation that gets a lot worse before things look up for him, and it's so important for tweens of all backgrounds to see life from his perspective. I had feelings about how his teachers handled his situation, and I saw our good intentions in "helping the needy" in a new way. The message here is to have hope, but HOPE I ...more
Laurie Hnatiuk
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
@katemessner has quickly become one of my favourite authors - she tackles sensitive topic areas so kids can see themselves in her books.
In this book she tackles homelessness using geocaching as a backdrop. We meet Zig who lives with his mother who is a nursing student - dad has been a no show for months now. Times are hard and Zig and his mother get evicted when mom cannot pay the rent and end up in a homeless shelter.
Zig and friends Ruby & Gianna get into geocaching and Zig is convinced a
Wow, Kate has done it again…created a beautiful story that reflects the real-life challenges so many of our students are facing, and she does it without preachy moralistic overtones-just simple empathy and compassion. Kirby “Zig” Zigonski lives with his mother who is working and going to nursing school-he hasn’t seen his father in years. Each planned visit is cancelled and Zig begins to think his dad is leaving him clues as to why through geocaching. With the help of his friend Gianna (The Brill ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in ebook format a couple of years ago and I was very disappointed that it was not available in print format. I decided to read it again when I saw that NetGalley had it available. I am glad I did, and I will definitely be ordering it for my library.

Zig is a pretty good kid, and when he and his mom fall on hard times he responds like most kids would. He is angry, disappointed, and embarrassed. However, for the most part he continues to try and keep up with his schoolwork and help his
Sarah Nelson
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
This book made me want to go geocaching - which is saying something because I've never before thought that sounded like a fun thing to do. The book, of course, is about much more - geocaching is just the vehicle Zig uses to look for his missing dad. He's convinced that he's on the trail of his dad's caches, and that they will somehow give him important clues about his dad. When everything else seems to be falling apart for his mom and him, that narrative is an attractive one. The novel handles a ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful story. Zig, Gia, and Ruby are the best of friends! When Zig decides to go on a journey to find his father, he asks his two pals to assist. While on his search his own life is turned upside down and he needs to find a way to make it all right.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for the advance e-ARC of Kate Messner's newest novel. It greatly helps this middle school librarian plan, purchase, and promote! This one is out on 9/12.

4/5 stars for this heartbreaking story of family secrets and hard times. Kirby "Zig" Zigonski loves to tinker, fix things, and go geocaching with his dad. He hasn't seen his dad in a few months though, and when his dad backs out of a planned weekend together Zig wants to know what's up. His mother, who work
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last year I read an article “Give the Kid a Pencil” (Teaching Tolerance, April 4, 2016). The article focuses on creating “a psychologically safe, mistake-friendly environment” for the student who always forgets a pencil. While I agree with all the author wrote, I started thinking about the student who doesn’t forget a pencil, but doesn’t have a pencil. What does one need to have a pencil? Some money—not much, but it needs to be extra money and rarely can one purchase a single pencil, transportat ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Kate Messner creates a wonderful character in Zig. A young man, hoping against hope, that he can find his father, figure out why mom's acting so weird, and figure out how to get out of the financial mess they're in. An electronics wiz, Zig thinks he's following messages from his dad as he geocaches around town, after finding a GPS at a garage sale.
Messner gives a realistic voice to kids facing homelessness, struggling in school, afraid to tell their friends, their teachers, and sometimes, just a
Amanda Work
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first children's book I have read dealing with homeless characters and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was emotionally invested in the life of the main character, 12 year old Zig. The story, told from Zig's point of view, effortlessly weaves the circumstances of Zig and his mom's loss of their home/apartment into an appealing adventure filled with tension, mystery and just a touch of humor that any 5th - 7th grader could appreciate. The descriptions of the hobby of geocachin ...more
Carol Royce Owen
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner, almost slipped through the cracks, because it came out as an ebook right before Christmas. For those of you who remember The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, we met the main character of this book, Zig, as a friend of Gianna's. Gianna and Ruby are in this book, too, and try to help Zig deal with questions surrounding his father, and there is even a little romantic interest between Gianna and Zig. :D

This is a beautiful, sensitive book about homelessness, fr
Laura Gardner
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 for this honest middle grade depiction of homelessness. I absolutely loved THE EXACT LOCATION OF HOME; it belongs in every upper elementary and middle grade library!
Zig is a good student and a good friend to his two best friends, Ruby and Gianna. He faces challenges, however; his father is largely absent from his life and then he misses a scheduled visit. When his mother is evicted for not paying her rent on time, she refuses to contact his father for help and won’t explain why
Annie K.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really sweet book. Zig is a boy who lives with his mom and is visited by his divorced dad. Or, he used to get visits and phone calls. Now, there's nothing. And with his mom starting to have huge money troubles, his life is going in a downward. With his mother refusing to call his dad for help, Zig knows there is something going on that she isn't telling him. With friends, circuits, and a new interest in geocaching, Zig has the feeling he's onto something.
This is a great book that show
Michele Knott
I am really glad Kate Messner went back and continued the story of Gianna and Zig.
I love that this is a stand-alone novel, or a continuation of the friendship of the two characters we met in The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
Another great story from the great Kate Messner.
Kathy Martin
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Zig is an eighth grader and science nerd. He lives with his mother who is studying to become a nurse and always looks forward to visits from his father. His father always has interesting surprises but his father is also very unreliable. He keeps getting Zig's hopes up and cancelling on him.

Things are not going well for Zig and his mom since his dad has also stopped sending child support. They are a couple of months behind on their rent and are going to be evicted. Zig can't understand why his mo
"But when everything you've ever known falls out from under you, the whole world seems less friendly."**

Kirby "Zig" Zigonski understands electricity. Whenever there's something wrong, the whole thing quits working. But as soon as you find the problem and fix it, everything starts working again. It's an all or nothing proposition. Wouldn't it be great if life were like that? If he could just connect with his dad again, Zig knows everything would be all right. "When Dad shows up, the circuit to co
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

Kate Messner, picture book writer and middle grade author of The Seventh Wish and All the Answers, returns to contemporary, realistic issues in The Exact Location of Home. Readers are taken into the changing and suddenly complicated world of protagonist and narrator Zig. As we soon learn, Zig lives with mom; his dad, Zig Senior, and mom are divorced, though Zig looks forward to his (increasingly sporadic) visits with his larger-than-life dad almost more than anything. After he learns from his mo
Valerie McEnroe
Jun 05, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm perplexed at the high ratings this book has received. I was absolutely bored. The characters were boring. Protagonist, Zig, is looking forward to seeing his dad, but he doesn't show. His mom is upset and won't give him any information. When Zig finds a GPS at a yard sale he decides to do some geocaching, something his dad always liked to do. He logs into a geocaching website and sees the username Senior Searcher. Since he and his dad share the same name, making his dad the senior, he's convi ...more
Jo-ann Walsh
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Kirby Zigonski , Jr., (Zig for short), is a middle school student. His parents are divorced. He never sees his dad, and his mom is going to nursing school and working at a diner to try to pay the bills. He loves electronics and being able to take things apart and put them back together. One day at a garage sale, he ends up with a box of things, including a toaster he’s determined to fix, and a GPS ...more
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Kate Messner is an award-winning author, TED 2012 speaker, and former middle school English teacher. Her books for kids include THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.,SUGAR AND ICE, and EYE OF THE STORM (Walker/Bloomsbury Dec. 2010) the MARTY MCGUIRE series (Scholastic), SEA MONSTER'S FIRST DAY, and OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW (Chronicle, Books). Kate also wrote SPITFIRE and CHAMPLAIN AND THE SILENT ONE, bot ...more