Galante, Cecilia. Hershey Herself.
Hershey doesn't like her mother's boyfriend, Slade, with his inflexible rules about keeping the house clean and his violent temper that once resulted in her getting a sliver of glass in her eye. She plots to make him angry enough that her mother will leave, which she does; she, her mother, and her baby sister Ella all end up in a battered women's shelter, which is not exactly what Hershey had in mind. She has to leave her cat with her friend Phoebe, and isn't able to spend as much time with Phoebe practicing her juggling act for the town talent show. She also has to deal with a school bully as well as her mother's attempts to get their lives back on track.
Strengths: Picky Reader will no doubt like this realistically drawn problem novel that highlights the plight of children trying to flee abusive situations and start over. The supportive environment, as well as the women who are drawn to go back to the abusive relationships they fled, are well described.
Weaknesses: The talent show seems to be a bit far-fetched, and there are so many other things going on that it wasn't really necessary.