From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up--Bridget Daugherty, 16, and her family are Travelers, Gypsies if you will, members of a group who live by their own laws and traditions. They believe anyone who isn't a Traveler is "country" and fair game for the scams and shoplifting that are the way they earn their living. They believe the skills necessary to be an effective thief (although they would never use the term) should be honed and taught to their children. Travelers move into a city, practice their craft, and then move on before the local police get too suspicious. Bridget's parents are worried about her as she wants to keep going to school, isn't interested in the immediate marriage her parents have planned, and isn't comfortable with all the lying that is part of her lifestyle. The story traces her struggle between being her parents' daughter and breaking away as her older sister did. It ends with the reader knowing that Bridget, although she has been seesawing between staying with the Travelers and marrying her fiancé and leaving home, will opt for the former. Although readers may come to sympathize with Bridget and her predicament, the other characters remain one-dimensional stereotypes. The story has an interesting premise, but it isn't fully developed, and the constant use of profanity seems gratuitous and unnecessary.--Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
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*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. "We were good at being just like everyone else--except when it came to a few important things. Like how we made our money." Sixteen-year-old Bridget's family are Travelers; they move across the U.S. in trailers and support themselves through con jobs and stealing. But Bridget has grown deeply conflicted about the strict Traveler ways. She wants choices--to go to school and to choose her own husband (although her betrothed, Patrick, is sexy and kind). And she's not sure she can handle "a life of everyday scams." When Bridget joins her uncle in a lucrative, high-risk swindle, she finally makes some surprising, difficult decisions about her future. In her taut debut novel, Whitney offers a fascinating view of a family whose dynamics are familiar--especially the teens who strain to separate their own desires from their parents' expectations. But here, success and praise are earned by stealing. Bridget's first-person narration, sprinkled with raunchy humor and some expletives, is strong and convincing, whether she's asking furious questions about her culture's double standards, sharply observing why scams work, or wishing that making out with Patrick didn't have to lead to marriage. A closing note offers a disclaimer that this fictional portrait isn't meant to represent hard truths about Travelers. Still, this is a wholly absorbing read that raises provocative questions about culture, as well as character, that teens will want to discuss. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved