Verbena Colter is growing up and the simple life she has led with her parents and a best friend she could count on seems to be disappearing rapidly behind her. Stumbling on an envelope with the name Grace Kincaid on the front of it, Verbena asks a question that changes everything she knows to be true. Is this her mother? Is this her father? Could her father be Uncle Mike who is currently behind bars for killing a man? Her large doughy mother who takes in all sorts of strays gave back that one dog, Teddy, because he was bad. Has Verbena gone bad? The strident, hurt voice of Verbena barks out as she tries to make sense of the world and herself. In the process she finds a new friend, a younger boy named Pooch. This is a summer washed away in feelings of shame and rage and fear right up until the end when Verbena finally learns the truth about herself and her family. At the core of the story is a message about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the deep damage it can do. This is great for kids who loved The Great Gilly Hopkins and other books where children are growing up in a less than perfect world and dealing with their fears and feelings. 182 pages Ages 9 and up
As Simple As It Seems
Laura Geringer Books (Harper Collins) June 15, 2010
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