Sunday, March 10, 2019

Mostly the Honest Truth

Little, Jody J. Mostly the Honest Truth
March 12th 2019 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

After Jane injures her hand when her father is passed out drunk, she is sent to temporary foster care for the fourth time, this time with Officer D, whom she befriended previously. Officer D lives in a collaborative community called Three Boulders that is far from town and has a kibbutz like system for jobs and caring for the young. After making friends with G and the other children in the community, Jane is still counting the days (12, total) until she can be with her Pop again. Questions arise about how the injury really occurred, however, and after being visited by a social worker, Jane manages to get to town and visit her father. There are problems with Three Boulders as well, since the elderly founder wants to sell the land to pay for his end-of-life care. Jane is desperate to get back together with Pop, although she starts to realize that it might not be in her best interest to do so. With the help and support of Officer D and the other members of Three Boulders, Jane starts to put together a new expectation for normal.
Strengths: I was really intrigued by the idea of temporary foster care, and the idea of a commune type community in the modern day. Officer D is a supportive and caring foster parent, and hearing about former placements Jane had was interesting as well. It was good to see Jane make a friend right away, and realistic that she wanted to get back to her father as soon as possible.
Weaknesses: The Three Boulders community was interesting but a bit odd, and I kept expecting something else to happen with it, like the residents were all really space aliens. They weren't, but something about the whole set up put me on edge. Jane's injuries had a hidden, horrific cause that might be traumatic for students younger than fifth grade to read about.
What I really think: I prefer Galante's excellent Strays Like Us is, and I also have a number of other books with character in foster care, including One for the Murphys, Gill's Scarlet Ibis, Carter's Forever, or a Long, Long Time, Davis' Peas and Carrots, Every Shiny Thing, and Little Bits of Sky.  This had an odd vibe to it, so I may pass. I have a decent number of students who are themselves in foster care, but I usually never know this until they leave, so I try to be careful about the books I have depicting variations of this experience.

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