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by Shelley Tougas

Pub Date: Sept. 2nd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-59643-988-7
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Daisy’s life is messy, out of control, and filled with madly improbable characters and crazy escapades.

It is immediately obvious that she has already been involved in something serious, even disastrous. She has been directed to write an account of her actions in a series of letters to Judge Henry, in which she explains the bizarre events, makes excuses and blames others for the outcome. The people involved in her life are all sublimely dysfunctional. Her mom is an alcoholic whose current boyfriend may actually be the one who provides the stability they so desperately need. Daisy’s paternal grandmother is somewhat grounded but is overwhelmed by the schism in the family. Daisy’s friend Graham is a wildly eccentric outsider with an ineffectual mother. And her brain-injured adult cousin, Ashley, is unpredictable and reliant on social services. The catalyst for the story is Daisy’s father, the Chemist—later the ex-chemist. The title plot involves a totally naïve and unworkable plan to get him out of prison. As the letters unfold, Tougas leads Daisy on a journey of self-awareness that gradually allows her to come to a more compassionate view of the people in her life. Her final letter to the judge and his reassuring reply offer hope for the future.

Readers will find themselves rooting for Daisy and Graham and for it all to turn out all right.

(Fiction. 9-12)