What makes a happy family?
That's one of the questions this book proposes.
Willa and her mom escaped from Texas and Willa's abusive father. In Pennsylvania, her mom met Jack, married him, and they all live together with Jack's two daughters.
And they all actually get along and like each other. Oh, there are issues, of course. Jack's ex-wife is rich so Willa's step sisters get lots of expensive clothes and trips and lessons. But Willa doesn't seem to mind. Or does she?
Maybe that is why she sneaks down to the cellar to cut herself.
When Willa's biological father murders his new wife and two of Willa's half sisters then abducts the other child and heads to Pennsylvnia to find Willa, she finds out what her present family is made of. She also finds out what she is made of.
Susan Beth Pfeffer has written a YA novel that explores the workings of a blended family and has created a memorable character in Willa who is forced to find and stand up for herself. So many teenagers, nowadays, must deal with broken families. It's nice to see a book deal with modern issues featuring a strong female character.
My own daughter and her husband have split up and I worry how that will affect Kylie. She's only five, now, but it's bound to have some repercussions on her as she gets older. This is one book I'll be recommending she read in a few years.