If she can follow the rules, no one will ever discover that she is the “homeless girl hiding in front of them.”
Linden Rose eats peanut-butter crackers from the vending machine, washes her laundry in the sink of the boys’ locker room, and sleeps in the baseball dugout. Hinderwood High School is her home, and she will do anything to keep her secret. Even her closest friends, Ham and Seung, have no idea that Linden has been hiding in plain sight ever since her mother and then her grandmother passed away. But when her friends are threatened by a violent classmate, Linden must decide if she should risk discovery to protect others. Chaotic storytelling and poorly crafted dialogue are only two of this uninspired story’s problems. And while the cast is somewhat diverse (Ham is gay, and biracial Seung is Korean/white), the white default prevails and stereotypes abound. Plot devices such as an overly vigilant school security and a reporter hot on the trail of Linden’s story are forced. And while Linden’s external life is suitably messy in light of her circumstances, her interior life is likewise disorganized and confusing. Only the glimpse of romance between Linden and Seung feels real; Seung’s depiction as an attractive Asian man is refreshing.
Disjointed, didactic, and mostly disappointing. (Fiction. 14-18)