Wednesday, July 25, 2012
One for the Murphys
10 May 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Carley's mother married an abusive man, and after a horrific attack that landed her mother in the hospital, Carley is put into foster care. Her very first family is the Murphys, with fire fighter dad, three young boys, and a really nice mom. Carley manages to do okay in school, although she has a difficult relationship with Toni, a particularly prickly girl who has problems of her own. Carley is concerned about her mom, having difficulty dealing with the abuse, fights a bit with the brother her own age but warms up to the little ones, and is worried that she will be moved away from the Murphys because she doesn't deserve them. The social worker, Mrs. McAvoy, makes brief appearances, and there is some talk about the Murphys adopting Carley, but once her mother recuperates and is able to provide for Carley again, she'll have to leave.
Strengths: Like Dowell's Where I'd Live to Be or Wolfson's What I Call Life, this book does a good job at describing Carley's emotions and gives one picture of a child in foster care that is slightly more positive than many I have read.
Weaknesses: Something was just not quite right with Carley's circumstances, and social worker Shelley Chandler's review on Goodreads gave voice to what were just vague objections in my mind. However, my students love problem novels, so I will probably buy it.