One for the Murphys Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Carley's step-father put her and her mother in the hospital. Before her mother regains consciousness, Carley is released into the foster care system. She's placed with the Murphys, a picture-perfect family. They're too good to be true and Carley keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. But, slowly and gradually, they worm their way into Carley's heart and Carley worms into theirs. But what's going to happen when her mom gets better and she has to leave?
I started reading this, thinking I'd get a few chapters in before bed and ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting. I loved it. First and foremost, I adored Carley's voice. She uses a lot of sarcasm to keep people at arm's length but she's really funny. Even her interior monologue has this cutting wit that we tend to see more in YA fiction than middle grade (but still totally age appropriate.) The chapter titles, especially, were a nice touch. The Murphys were pretty dang perfect, but even then we see that fostering a child is a personal crusade of Mrs. Murphy and her husband and oldest son need some time coming around to Carley. But it's so nice to read about a positive foster care experience. There's this very bittersweet feel to the entire book-- the ending's a bit messy (in the best way).
I love how slowly Carley opens up. In a lot of books, something happens and suddenly the protagonist drops all of her anger and fear and relationships are perfect. Carley doesn't immediately warm to the Murphys and it's slooooooooooooooooow and happens one family member at the time, and for every two steps forwards, there's a step back. It is just so well done.
I was not expecting to love this book as much as I do. Even though I know she's fictional, I'm going to be rooting for Carley to make it for a long time to come.
ARC Provided by... the author, for review consideration
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