Official Rating 3/5
“Unlike most kids, teenage Katie Parker never got a fair shot at a normal life. With a mother in jail and a missing-in-action dad, she’s never known what it’s like to truly be loved. Low on options and family members, she’s soon shipped off to a foster home. Now in an unfamiliar town, Katie’s rebellious attitude is at odds with her new family, school, and classmates. And after falling in with all the wrong people at school, things go from bad to really bad after she takes the blame for vandalizing the local performing arts theater.
But in the midst of a dark situation, Katie finds light in the most unexpected places: through her new friendship with an eccentric senior, the commitment of her foster family, and a tragic secret that changed them forever. And as she inches closer to acceptance and forgiveness, she finds that God has been there all along.”
This book was cute, fairly well written, and made me laugh quite a few times. I gave it a three out of five stars because Katie sounded like a middle-schooler even though she was supposed to be in tenth grade. Also because while I understand that Katie has trust issues because she’s a foster child, I felt that some of her actions were downright rude. (spoiler) Lastly, because of the ridiculous situation Katie was put in. It was obvious that she had no hand nor any idea about the vandalism that was going to/had taken place, I don’t know why everyone insisted it didn’t sound plausible. Otherwise, she was a good main character, realistic, and relatable.
Katie has trust issues, hang-out-with-the-wrong-crowd issues, some behavioral issues, and issues with people that serve God. She’s very skeptical of the people she’s living with, apparently, James, is a pastor at a church, Millie, seems suspiciously enthusiastic about Katie’s arrival, and their dog, Rocky, looks like he wants to lick her to death. There’s not a single thing that’s shallow about Katie, but she has a whole lot to understand. I enjoyed her personality and how she meddles in things just enough without causing (too much) harm. I loved her sarcastic thought-process and her quick-witted responses as well as how she knew when to stop talking and when to start. She had a type of attitude that wasn’t disrespectful but still had a smart-alecky tang to it. Katie was full of different aspects that made her who she is and Jones wrote her well.
Millie and James were interesting too, very active in Katie’s life once she joined their family and surprisingly honest towards Katie with touchy subjects. They were realistic as well, sharing meaningful glances and the occasional, yet heated, fight.
Did I forget to mention Maxine? Maxine made this book have spunk and she’s my favorite character. Maxine is a slightly extremely eccentric grandma that has too much confidence for her own good, yet connects with Katie. Her ways may seem a little kooky, but her heart is in the right place. She doesn’t accept Katie’s sass, but she gives it out in generous servings.
I appreciated the non-believer point of view as well. Despite Katie being in a Christian home, I didn’t feel like James, Millie, or anyone else were pushing God on her, but rather just letting her experience Him however she did. A few mentions about faith here, a few encouraging words to get her to pray (and the way she prays is cool and very teenager-like), and a few youth group meetings and that was all. There wasn’t any condemnation or ostracizing, it was very well done.
All in all, the plot was interesting and very relaxed and it was enjoyable to read.