A road trip with her older sister and her sister’s baby help a seventh-grader understand her place in her complicated, well-meaning family.
When Cassie’s sister, Julia, became pregnant at only 17, her parents rallied to support her and enable her to graduate high school. Now that goal has been achieved, but the girls’ parents are still in full support-Julia mode while seemingly unconscious of the toll their dictates have taken on Cassie. She has had to miss important swim meets to attend family prenatal classes, and some of her friends are no longer allowed at her house. Cassie loves her niece but is rattled by the changes in her relationship with her sister. Meanwhile Julia’s friends and boyfriend are heading to college, while she’ll be commuting part time. Fed up, Julia grabs the baby and hits the road—and at the last minute Cassie comes along. As they hop from place to place, always finding somewhere for Cassie to swim, they gradually begin to communicate better. Julia gains confidence as a mother, and Cassie sees in Julia’s love for Addie a reflection of the love Julia and her parents have always held for Cassie. Told from Cassie’s first-person point of view, it’s a nice reflection on the messiness of even strong relationships. All of the characters seem to be white.
A quiet story that will resonate with quiet readers. (Fiction. 8-14)