First off, I really wanted to like this book, I really, really did. I love Southern literature. I live in the South, I love the South, Southern born and bred, through and through. But I could not give this book more than 3 stars, and even that was stretch. It's an ok read, but it is NOT The Help, and if you're looking for that, you will not find it with this story.
First of all, her main character, CeeCee, is 12 years old, but you would never gather that impression from the way she speaks. Her voice is way too mature for her age, but yet overall you have to wonder if the author is trying to speak as a 12 year old girl, and failing, or if she is writing to 12 year old girls and that this book should not be considered adult fiction, but teen/young adult. I don't think she really ever grasped who her audience was going to be.
And the characters never developed. Throughout the entire book, I could never gather a picture of CeeCee, I could never see her to imagine her in the situations she was placed and because of that there was never a connection to her. I could picture Oletta (the housekeeper), and I vaguely could see Aunt Tootie, the neighbors, Ms. Goodpepper and Ms. Hobbs, I could even vaguely imagine her mother, Camille. But never CeeCee.
In addition, the storyline never developed. It didn't flow smoothly, it was choppy and very amateur. Southern novels are known for quirky characters, funny situations and heartgrasping storylines, this was an effort to combine all of those qualities and create a story that is complimentary to The Secret Life of Bees and The Help. And I think there was a good story in there somewhere, it just never got written.
I didn't hate this book, but I cannot recommend it to others because it was a struggle to actually finish it. It was superficial; it had surface but no depth.