“Change...is scary.” And family breakup is never easy.
Learning that her parents plan to place her unpredictably violent autistic brother in a group home, accomplished trumpet player and responsible older sister Daisy Meehan experiments with bad behavior in her junior year in high school, trying to figure out how she feels about it. Is this freedom? Does she want it? The author of this moving story underscores her point as Daisy and exchange student Cal O’Casey work out a fictional autobiography of a newly freed slave for an AP history class. Has Daisy’s family been enslaved by her autistic brother, now big and frighteningly strong but still nonverbal? Will Cal, also a talented jazz musician, be a slave to his family’s business back in Ireland, or her old friend–turned-boyfriend Dave Miller to his family’s straitened circumstances? What does/would 13-year-old Steven want? As she ponders the dissolution of her own family, Daisy also considers her friends’ parents’ divorces. Families come apart in many ways and for many reasons, but in a small New Hampshire town, most everyone knows what’s going on. Written in short lines of free verse and short chapters, this accessible narrative moves along quickly and believably, ending satisfyingly without suggesting that all has been resolved.
An intriguing medley of music, teen romance, high school life and serious family issues. (Fiction. 13-18)