A girl struggles to understand the lasting effects of her father’s murder on her family.
Growing up in Ontario, social misfit Jenna has hated Travis Bingham all her life. Travis shot and killed her father when she was a baby. She blames him for her mother’s mental illness and her family’s poverty. When she learns that Travis has been released from prison, her friends urge her to confront him. Breaking with her longtime friends over the issue, Jenna finds herself befriended by a popular girl, who drags Jenna to the mall and uses her shopping sense to get Jenna a whole new wardrobe and haircut, jolting Jenna into a new perspective on herself. She begins to uncover unsettling clues about her family’s past. When Jenna finally does meet Travis and gets him to talk about the past, an entirely new history opens up, calling into question many of her former beliefs. Wennick keeps her prose flowing nicely, and her characters come across as real people with strengths and flaws. Jenna’s confusion and her determination to sort out her understanding of both herself and her history come through clearly and sympathetically.
A solid, affecting coming-of-age tale. (Fiction. 12-16)