Originally published in School Library Journal, October, 2019.
Gr 9 & up: In and out of foster homes and unable to trust anyone, Jane, 15, is thick-skinned and wise beyond her years. Not a typical teenager, Jane takes care of her 4 year old sister and heroin-addicted, single mother each time she relapses. After switching schools three times her Sophomore year, she ends up in small town Winchester, Ohio, living in the guest house of the wealthy Whitman family where her mother gets a housecleaning job. She faces daily bullying at the very rural Whitman High, but reluctantly, at first, makes friends with Milah Jo, a boisterous new student, and Landon, the handsome, charismatic son of her mother’s employer. Jane’s trust issues and fierce independence increase as she grows closer romantically to Landon, against the wishes of both of their mothers. When Jane discovers Landon’s painful secret, she must choose a path for her future – trust her heart or move forward alone. Baker’s debut novel is an honest, yet heartbreaking portrayal of life with an addict, validated by the author’s own background in counseling. Teens will both identify and empathize with the strong female character. VERDICT: Recommended for strictly additional purchase to increase a realistic fiction section.