This is a story that should be a tragedy. And, believe me, Emily Murdoch’s debut novel starts out that way. At fifteen, Carey is living alone in the Tennessee woods, in a busted up trailer, taking care of her selectively mute sister Jenessa. She’s not sure how long it’s been since she’s seen her mother, but it’s been longer than usual. And while she has no disillusions about how her mother gets money for them, or the fact that she’s neglectful at best, or the horrible conditions they’re living in, there is one thing she knows: her mother loves her and her sister. It’s a fact. Just like the fact that her father left them behind when she was a little girl.
So when a man and a social worker arrive in the woods to “rescue” Carey and Jenessa, Carey is not only shocked but resistant. Especially when the man identifies himself as her dad. Taken to live on a farm with him and his wife and stepdaughter, Carey’s world is flipped upside down. She misses the woods, feels (and sometimes is) rejected by her new stepsister, and has no clue how to deal with the social structure of school.~ read more ~