Ten years after her abduction, 15-year-old Carey is returned to her father and must face harsh realities about her mother, her little sister and their life in the Tennessee woods.
Carey and her younger sister live in a camper deep in a forest, away from anyone who might see and report two girls surviving with their drug-abusing, at-times absent mother, Joelle. It’s during one of her longer absences that the girls are found by a social worker and Carey’s father. Joelle reared Carey on stories of her abusive father, and the teen fears separation from her sister, Jenessa, who rarely speaks and is totally dependent on Carey. Now she finds herself snatched from a life of bare-bones survival to one of physical comfort with her father and his new family. Despite all she has done to raise and educate Jenessa and herself, Carey is hiding things about their life in the woods and the cause of her sister’s silence. This deeply affecting story is made all the more so by Carey’s haunting first-person narration. The portrait of a teen attempting to navigate a previously unknown world of family and school is well-drawn, especially the tension between Carey and her new stepsister, Delaney, and Carey’s budding relationship with a boy she knew before she disappeared.
A compelling narrative that is both unflinching about life’s pain and hopeful about its possibilities. (Fiction 14 & up)