A teen growing up in an out-of-control hippie commune in Oregon in 1970 discovers what it’s like to have a stable home when she’s transplanted to rural California.
After months of conspiring, 14-year-old Shoshanna, her younger sister, and their mother, Ella, flee “the hunger, the violence, the drugs, [and] the chaos” of Sweet Earth Farm, where they’ve lived like prisoners for five years. Desperate to escape an abusive, addicted father, they “disappear” to San Francisco, arriving penniless and homeless in Haight-Ashbury, where Ella reconnects with her friend Judy, who moves them to a rural, coastal town where a kind man gives them a place to live in exchange for working on his farm. Afraid her father will follow and knowing she’ll “have to work hard to keep her mother going,” Shoshie flourishes with a safe place, nourishing food and earth-mother Judy’s care. When Ella becomes gravely ill, once again Shoshie’s future’s uncertain, until she realizes she has a new community supporting her. Details of the free-spirited, hippie lifestyle and attitudes provide authentic cultural context for Shoshie’s troubling, urgent journey from desperate victim to hopeful survivor.
This realistic debut inspires with a grounded heroine who comes of age as she “disappears home.” (Historical fiction. 12-15)