A girl struggles to escape her awful life with her abusive, drug-addicted mother, stealing her newborn sister to save the baby from the same fate in this stellar debut.
Sixteen-year-old Faith lives with her strung-out mother, who is acting as a surrogate for a drug dealer “friend,” having his baby for $10,000. Faith sees that the baby will be condemned to the same life she has led, so she steals her mom’s car and the baby, whom she names Addy, from the hospital. Calling herself Leah, she flees to Florida, where she rents a room from Chris and his father. Chris immediately adores the baby, and Faith hopes for a romance with him. She seems to have found the perfect life for herself and Addy, but she knows that her constant deception, along with kidnapping and theft charges, eventually will catch up with her. Writing from Faith’s perspective, Blair delivers a wallop of a story. She focuses it on Faith’s difficulties simply feeding and caring for the squalling infant, a learning curve Faith must experience alone. While the novel’s realism may suffer from the idyll Faith finds so suddenly in Florida, the poignancy of her plight and the desperate sincerity of her motives easily overcome any quibbles about plausibility.
Just a marvelous debut, moving and suspenseful. (Fiction. 14 & up)