Teenage immigrant Rhea Farrell must figure out how to confront fear and loss in 1999 New York City.
In a series of letters to her mum, Rhea details her new life in America, far from Ireland, where her father was buried and her mother's body remains, unfound. Rhea feels free in New York, away from overbearing Aunt Ruth in Coral Springs, Florida. Surviving the streets of the big city seems feasible with the aid of charismatic Sergei, until money and Sergei's charms run low. Every day someone denies her a job, staring at what's left of her right arm while offering a thin excuse. At this rate, Rhea knows she cannot move forward, but she cannot go back to the loose ends in Coral Springs. A meeting one night alters Rhea's course and teaches her that running away is not a proper goodbye. Cassidy anchors readers in Rhea's kaleidoscope of emotions, writing a narrative that’s at times dizzying from the intensity of Rhea's mood changes and at others frustrating due to her stubbornness. It’s a rough emotional landscape, demanding readers with a high tolerance for angst, but the limited point of view pays off eventually. Rhea's journey does not always offer thrills, but Cassidy's consistent momentum moves her forward to where she needs to go.
Heavy and intense, this book will make readers confront their own senses of identity. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)