What It Is About: Lauren's story is told in prose and Sierra's story is told in verse. Each girl's story is told in alternating chapters. Lauren is upset that her older autistic brother is going to school away from home. She believes he should be at home with the family. She sets out on a mission to earn money to help support the programs at her brother's school. Sierra moves in next door as a foster child because her mother has run into more "trouble". She has spent her life taking care of her mother and now finds herself on her own with two special foster parents. They have a story that Sierra feels they are keeping to themselves. Sierra and Lauren get to know each other and each bring something new to each other. As Lauren tries to earn more and more money, she begins to make some horrible choices. She can't stop herself. This makes her feel guilty, but she feels even more guilty when she recruits Sierra to help her with her quest and keeping her secret. Sierra is torn between doing the right thing and taking care of her new friend.
What I Thought Of It: As soon as I began page one, I knew this was going to be a story that I was going to enjoy. The format of prose and verse for each girl worked perfectly. It really gave voice to each character in a unique way. I think each girl brought something special to their new friend and they were able to learn from each other and grow from it. There was plenty of conflict and "tension" throughout the story that keep me turning page after page. All and all this was a strong, interesting, and compelling read.
Who Should Read It: The story of Lauren and Sierra would make for an excellent read aloud in grades four, five, and/or six. I also think it could be shared with students in middle-school. Individual readers in grades five, six, and above will find this a satisfying and enlightening story. Female readers may tend to be better suited because of the lead characters of Lauren and Sierra. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars