Sisters Anna and Sara must rely on each other for strength as they face being separated by the foster care system in this heartwrenching tale of sisterhood, family, and survival.
Sara and Anna Olsen face an uncertain world. Their mother left home and may—or may not—be coming back. Their father is a drummer in a band and comes home long after the girls go to sleep—if he comes home at all. Too often, ten-year-old Sara and twelve-year-old Anna are left to fend for themselves. Then one night, three loud knocks at the door change everything: their father is in jail and social services has come to take the girls away. Rather than risk being split up, Sara and Anna decide their only option is to run away.
But the girls don’t get very far, and when the authorities catch up with them, Sara and Anna are forced back into the foster care system. Along the way, the girls encounter good people who want to help them but they also meet people who have no patience for mistakes or accidents. As Anna begins to act out or withdraw completely, Sara knows that it’s up to her to take care of her older sister. But what if she can’t anymore? What if she finds a forever home that may not include Anna? Will Sara keep the promise she made to her mother to stay with her sister or will she find the courage to do what’s best for herself?
In a starred review VOYA said “Sara’s story will tug at heart strings; Readers will cheer for her to succeed.” Inspired by true events, this heartrending and hopeful novel of survival, friendship, and sisterhood, tells the tale of two sisters who must find the strength to face anything that life may throw their way.
Virginia Castleman teaches English and fiction writing at the college level. She is the author of Mommi Watta, Spirit of the River, Erosion, Pile of Pups, Sky High, and numerous stories and articles that have appeared in Highlights for Children, The Children’s Writer’s Guide, and other publications. She lives in Nevada.
Castleman knows the foster care system well—she was adopted when she was six from an orphanage. She wrote this story to draw attention to the flawed foster care system and to give a voice to foster and adopted kids. Sara’s story will tug at heart strings; readers will cheer for her to succeed, for she is a heroine in the style of The Great Gilly Hopkins (HarperCollins, 2004). This book is a must for middle school readers
– Judith A. Hayn, VOYA, Starred Review
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