Golden, Laura. Every Day After
June 11th 2013
by Delacorte Press
Nominated for the Cybils by LibLaura
Lizzie's father has left the family because it is the height of the Great Depression, and he doesn't feel that anything he does helps. This is apparently not the case, since in the wake of his departure, Lizzie's mother has become completely catatonic. It is up to Lizzie to scrape together meals, keep the house clean, and not let anyone know how bad her mother is lest she be taken to the orphanage. Other people have it bad as well-- her friend Ben's father has died, and he has dropped out of school to work for the querulous Mr. Reed, but even that doesn't stop his family from losing their home. To make matters even worse, Lizzie has made an enemy in Erin, who is relentlessly cruel to her, even trying to exploit the mother's illness to knock Lizzie out of the running for school competitions. Eventually, the townspeople step in to help Lizzie, and Lizzie realizes that her father was not the admirable person she has held him up to be.
Strengths: This was very nicely written, and the author clearly did her research into the time period. Her notes at the end about her grandparents make the story seem more likely; children today don't understand just how bad the circumstances were during the Great Depression.
Weaknesses: Unless I can sell this to students on the strength of the Boxcar Children-like survival of a child alone or as a problem novel, this will be hard to get them to read. Historical fiction is not popular in my library, and does better when there is more action and adventure. The journal writing and constant petty fighting with Erin dragged this down a bit.