I remember reading Susan Fletcher's Dragon Chronicles with enjoyment, although I confess I don't remember much more than that since it was about ten years ago, at least. I think they came out around the time my first son was born. I thought they took place in a fantasy world, although this was over a decade before I fell into the clutches of the Where Are You Reading challenge, so I didn't pay much attention.
When grabbing books from the F shelf for Reading My Library, I saw Susan Fletcher's name and a new title, Ancient, Strange, and Lovely, so I swiftly tossed it into my pile (part of the fun of Reading My Library is forcing myself to decide quickly among the shelves' offerings). I couldn't remember if I'd read the third dragon book or not (I have) and I thought maybe this was it, and I hadn't. I was more right than wrong -- this is the NEW fourth book. Here is another author who went on writing books after I gave up on them.
In mostly modern day Oregon (I think it's a little bit in the future, because some things have gotten worse), Bryn and her little sister worry about their missing mom, who disappeared somewhere in Alaska, and their absent father, who wandered off looking for her but has recently stopped calling. But seasoned readers of the Dragon Chronicles notice that the girls communicate with their pet birds, so we aren't too surprised when a dragon appears in the story.
The environmental messages is moved much further to the front of the story, since a lot of the plot centers around the lust of collectors for rare and cryptid specimens, as well as the mother's work in addressing pollutant and the dragon's role in this. But mostly the story follows Bryn's desperate attempts to keep her critter safe, finding friends both true, shaky, and duplicitous, battling nature, bureaucracy, bad guys, and selfishness. The end is warm and cosy, but open -- there are still problems the family must face, but they have hope. I'll offer it to X, although if he finds out it's the fourth in the series I'm doomed. I should check my shelves to see if I have copies of the earlier books.