By Steve Watkins
Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763655099, 311pp.
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
List Price: $17.99*
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Sadie Windas has always been the responsible one she's the star player on her AAU basketball team, she gets good grades, she dates a cute soccer player, and she tries to help out at home. Not like her older sister, Carla, who leaves her three-year-old daughter, Lulu, with Aunt Sadie while she parties and gets high. But when both sisters are caught up in a drug deal wrong place, wrong time it falls to Sadie to confess to a crime she didn t commit to keep Carla out of jail and Lulu out of foster care. Sadie is "supposed "to get off with a slap on the wrist, but somehow, impossibly, gets sentenced to six months in juvie. As life as Sadie knew it disappears beyond the stark bars of her cell, her anger at her "ex"-boyfriend, at Carla, and at herself fills the empty space left behind. Can Sadie forgive Carla for getting her mixed up in this mess? Can Carla straighten herself out to make a better life for Lulu, and for all of them? Can Sadie survive her time in juvie with her spirit intact?
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.
—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)