Carley Conners has had a difficult life so far. She used to live with her mom in Las Vegas; they would shop for clothes from the Salvation Army dumpsters. Then her mom moved them to Connecticut and married Dennis who hated her. Now Carly finds herself in foster care after Dennis beat her and her mother and they both ended up in the hospital. She is placed with the Murphy family. Mrs. Murphy is kind and loving and wants the best for Carly, Mr. Murphy is distant, the three Murphy boys react to Carly’s presence in the house in different ways from resistance and resentment to loving acceptance. Carly has to find her way with a new family, a new school, and new friends.
Carly’s story is heart-breaking and heart-warming. I felt like she reacted like a normal kid in that situation would; she was distant, sarcastic, guarded and hopeful. She finds herself in a safe, stable loving home for the first time. She finds herself falling in love with the Murphys and feels conflicted about her mom. Carley’s journey in this book is a wonderful one as she finds her strength and learns to stand on her own. While I feel like Carley could definitely be a real kid in this situation I wonder about the other circumstances in the book. I can’t believe her mom got out of criminal charges and got custody of Carley back so easily. You would think there would have been counseling for both of them at some point. I also can’t believe how uninvolved the social worker is. I think she would take a more active role in Carley’s situation. But Carley’s story is wonderful and I would definitely recommend this book.