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A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE by Ann Haywood Leal

A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE

By Ann Haywood Leal

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8882-3
Publisher: Henry Holt

As her single mother's mental state degenerates, a resilient little girl desperately tries to hold life together. Since her father vanished seven years ago in 1966, 11-year-old Esther has watched over her younger sister Ruth and pretended all's normal in their chaotic home. Frequently "out of sorts" and "off-kilter," their mother Valley angers "real fast, without much warning," forgets to take her pills, vanishes for days, manically redecorates and accidentally leaves Ruth overnight in a store. In her "finders-keepers" world, the resourceful Esther makes a game of scrounging food and clothing from Dumpsters, convinced all will stabilize if she can just find her father. Esther's matter-of-fact, grown-up voice chronicles her attempts to keep life going, fool nosey outsiders and protect her pathetic mother, but it's obvious the walls are literally crumbling around her and she's only a kid herself. Mature beyond her years, able to make the best of a bad situation and blessed with impressive survivor skills, Esther proves an admirable heroine in this poignant story. (Historical fiction. 9-12)