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by Gigi Amateau

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-2339-3
Publisher: Candlewick

Although this debut shows promise in its engaging narrative voice, too many tragedies and unusual characters, including a transvestite and a generous ex-con, overwhelm the plot. Twelve-year-old Georgia Tate Jamison has a contented life with her grandparents in Mississippi in 1975, until the father she barely knows invites her to visit him and then sexually abuses her. She returns to her grandparents’ home, but when her grandmother dies, her caring grandfather, unaware of the abuse, ignores Georgia’s fear of her father and sends her off to live with him, where the abuse worsens. Ample details create a strong sense of time and place, and Georgia gains the reader’s sympathy with her friendliness and love of life. However, the ending is marred by her implausibly quick emotional recovery from the incest, and, equally implausible, the implication that her father will be easily made to forfeit custody of her and even be imprisoned for the abuse. (Fiction. 13+)