Take one seventh grade girl, Tess, with a flair for design, add a younger brother, Jordan, who is deaf and top it all off with a mother who never seems to have luck in her favor and you have the recipe for this trip down a Rocky Road. Tess and her mother and brother are leaving Texas behind and moving on to Schenectady, New York and hope. This time Ma plans to open an ice cream parlor in a downtrodden part of the city. She's studying the business via a manual called The Inside Scoop and has it all figured out. Tess has again left behind everything and everyone she knows to arrive in at a new school with new kids and an establishment that doesn't expect much of her. But, Tess has a great sense of style and is always coming up with her own new ideas for craft projects. Tess also has the responsibility of caring for her little brother, FrankenJordan, while Ma works long hours to get the business up and running. The family finds a home for themselves in a senior citizen complex and a full cast of supporting characters emerges from the senior population along with some friends from Tess' school. But, added to Tess' young shoulders is the problem of her mother's roller coaster emotional world. As Ma faces the ups and downs of opening A Cherry On Top, Tess watches the shooting star moments turn into the darkest despair. Ma has bipolar disorder and Tess needs for her to get help. Every day brings new challenges for everyone in the family but even though there are plenty of potholes there is always ice cream to see this family through. Ice cream recipes and ice cream personalities complete the volume Ages 9-13 286 pages
Knopf Books for Young Readers, June 2010
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