Bleak. That’s what six months locked up in juvie looks like for 17-year-old Sadie. She isn’t anything like the conniving, lethal girls in surrounding cells. Sadie’s first and only offense was inadvertently trafficking drugs while carting home her strung-out teen-mom sister, Carla. Sadie took the fall to keep Carla out of adult jail and her beloved niece, Lulu, out of foster care. But heroism doesn’t dull Sadie’s fear or her longing: for Lulu, for her motorcycle, for a promising basketball career, for an erstwhile boyfriend. Watkins (What Comes After, 2011) has created a compelling first-person narrative anchored on Sadie’s self-reflection: “Just when you start to feel good about your life because of some little thing that might go well, there are fifty other reminders about where you are and where you’re going to be for a long time, and how you got here, and what everybody back home thinks about you now, and will probably think about you for the rest of your life.” A haunting story of loyalty, regret, and the fervent hope for second chances. Grades 9-12. --Lexi Walters Wright
In the midst of the terrible reality, realistically tiny glimmers of hope shine like candles fighting the darkness. A bleakly optimistic reminder to hold on to what is good.
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—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Watkins offers a frank view of life in a juvenile detention center... Little by little, a multi-dimensional portrait of Sadie emerges, exposing her vulnerabilities and struggles with the mistakes she’s made... [A]bsorbing and wrenching.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)