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In Which the Economy Crashes, My Mom Goes Broke, My Sister’s Plans Are Ruined, My Dad Grows Vegetables, and I Do Not Get a Hamster

by Amy Goldman Koss

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59643-613-8
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Although her parents are divorced, ninth-grader Jacki has a golden California lifestyle with all the accoutrements—private school, large house with a swimming pool and a mom with a high-powered, high-paying job—the works. She sees classmates’ parents losing their jobs and her best friend’s family taking in homeless relatives. Then the recession hits home. It’s her mom who is jobless, her house that must be sold, her whole way of life turned upside down. School and friendship adventures, sibling relationships and an almost-boyfriend add normalcy to the mix. Jacki narrates her own story as she veers between worry and optimism, childishness and maturity, self-absorption and compassion. Although Koss interjects a recounting of forcible eviction and a visit to a homeless shelter and the topic is current and serious, she keeps the tone generally optimistic and reassuring. In the end, readers get a problem novel with little depth, but it delivers a cast of charming characters and a semi-happy ending. (Fiction. 12 & up)