A seventh grader shouldn't need to be an expert on the differences between jail and prison, should she?
Carly Wheeler is a popular student at Westchester County Day School. On Teacher Organization Day each year, she and her best friend Annie accompany Carly’s mom, Leigh, to the set of the soap opera Lovelock Falls, where Leigh is a stylist. Carly and Annie overhear a strange conversation between Leigh and her boss Vivette, and Carly’s world is soon turned upside-down. Both Vivette and Leigh are arrested and charged with embezzling money by using company credit cards for personal purchases and cash advances. Carly and her stepfather, or Faux Pa, as she calls him, are dumbfounded when they learn that Leigh is, in fact, guilty of the charges leveled against her. Realistically, there is much fallout, and there are many decisions to be made. Leigh must decide whether she will go to trial or plead guilty. Carly tries to sort out her feelings for her mother as she navigates an increasingly complicated and occasionally hostile social environment. Faux Pa tries to resolve the legitimate anger he feels toward Leigh while salvaging the beleaguered family finances.Although the plot and the first-person narration often come off as contrived, the compelling subject and likable characters will please drama-loving fans of the problem novel well enough. (Fiction. 9-13)