Scarlett, 16, will need faith to guide her through a series of tribulations.
Scarlett's 10-year-old brother, ever-so-winsome Cliff, is perhaps afflicted with some type of high-functioning autism. Somewhat implausibly, Scarlett is the only one in her dysfunctional family who understands him at all. Her older sister, Juli, a budding hippie, is too wrapped up in her boyfriend, her parents are too busy fighting over money and politics—a conflict that never emerges as more than background noise—and her live-in grandfather is losing a battle with Alzheimer's. After a promise to outer-space–focused Cliff, Scarlett starts earning money by baking peach pies so that she can build him a replica of a rocket ship. In this effort she is helped out by the son of the owner of the peach orchard, sensitive, smart Frank. Then there's a terrible accident, heavily foreshadowed, with a nearly unbelievable outcome, and Scarlett must either succumb to despair or find a path to peaceful acceptance through God. Coker, a teen herself, too often lets her authorial voice intrude on Scarlett's narrative, creating attractive (and frequently redundant) sentences that ring false—"I enjoyed the warm, breezy air kissing my windblown cheeks"—and weakens the narrative by too-often resorting to telling rather than showing. The 1969 time period is never well-realized.
Christian teen readers may enjoy this average effort by one of their own, in spite of its flaws. (Historical fiction. 11-16)