From School Library Journal
Grade 3-7– Georgina and her family have been living in their car since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment. Mama is working two jobs to earn rent money and trying hard to hold things together. Desperate to help out, Georgina decides to steal a dog for the reward money, laying out the details of her plan in a diary. However, the dog's owner can't afford to offer a reward, and Georgina ends up feeling sorry for the lonely woman. The girl also makes friends with another adult named Mookie, a kindhearted wanderer who is camped out at the abandoned house where she is keeping the dog. He shares his wisdom and offers help, whether she wants it or not. Georgina's narrative is honest and deeply touching, as she recounts how she and her brother try to survive their circumstances. Washing off in a gas station restroom and turning in grease-stained homework become fairly normal occurrences. Readers will identify with the agony and the embarrassment caused by being different, as well as Georgina's struggles with her conscience. The book's endearing humor smoothes out the more poignant moments, and the unfolding events will keep youngsters totally engaged. The gem in the story is Mookie, who manages to sparkle even when sadness threatens to devour the moment. Though set inside a heavy topic, this novel's gentle storytelling carries a theme of love and emphasizes what is really right in the world.–Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
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One day Georgina has a home, a best friend, and plenty to eat. The next, she's living in a car with her mother and brother. Carrying on as usual isn't possible: washing up in a restaurant bathroom, doing homework by flashlight, losing her friend. Mom works two jobs, but it's not enough, so impatient Georgina decides to steal a dog, hoping to collect a reward. She picks her furry victim and makes careful plans--but she doesn't count on her conscience. In stripped-down, unsentimental prose, Georgina tells her own story, her words making clear her vulnerability and heartbreak as well as her determination and pride. It's puzzling why Mom doesn't seek outside help for her desperate family, and the appearance of wise Mookie, a sort of transient deus ex machina, verges on excess. Yet in the end, this is truly Georgina's story, and to O'Connor's great credit, it's Georgina herself who figures out what's right and does it. The myriad effects of homelessness and the realistic picture of a moral quandary will surely generate discussion. Stephanie ZvirinCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved