Flora and Julian are a team. They have to be: after moving from foster home to foster home, the only permanence is in each other.
Both brown-skinned and with textured hair, the children were born, seemingly out of thin air, and left to imagine why they were never given a family. Now living with their new mom and dad, Flora struggles to accept that forever can happen to them. When Julian sneaks food or Flora forgets her words, she wonders if they will be sent to another home. Struggling to pass fourth grade and accepting changes in her family, Flora must learn to believe in forever and herself. Carter's sophomore novel gently weaves the heartache and confusion of abandonment with the struggle for love and acceptance. Flora gently narrates, sifting through the blank spaces in her memories as readers stumble upon her discoveries. Flora's observations about her family add dimension to each character and reveal her own layered persona. Carter folds in casual, profound musings that only children can produce, establishing Flora's bittersweet sincerity and quest for answers. The book highlights the cracks in the foster-care system without dictating a solution. Instead it focuses on the complex effects of an unstable environment on young children.
Poetic and meditative, this emotionally enthralling novel undresses assumptions with purpose and hope. (Fiction 8-12)